JW Elder fired from bank for privacy violation regarding fellow JW employee

by Zoos 41 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Zoos

    "Thou shalt spy on and report your brothers and sisters to HQ."


    EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the nature of this story we've changed the names of the parties involved. We're calling them John and Jane.

    The industrial court upheld a decision by a major commercial bank to dismiss an employee who accessed and disseminated another employee's personal information to members of his church.

    It's a case that reflects on exactly much levity there is in a person's right to freedom of religion.

    His Honour Mr. Herbert Soverall presided over the case and gave his ruling on July 28th. The documents were just made public.

    In August 2012 (according to a statement written by John to his union) while working the night shift, he and two other employees were going through the bank's back up hard drive in search of cheque register form.

    Within the drives, John said he stumbled upon sexually explicit material of a female colleague engaging in sexual acts with a man, who was not her husband.

    In the statement John said he is "an elder in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses." He said in his religion, such acts are prohibited, and "would bring reproach on the name of our Holy God Jehovah and would additionally disrupt the free flow of the Holy Spirit in the Christian congregation."

    John approached Jane on more than one occasion telling her what he knew. He implored her to come clean to the elders in the church.

    He wanted to "remind her of the vows that she made upon her baptism and assist her in restoring her relationship with her God Jehovah."

    By the third attempt Jane had had enough, and told him to "stay out [her] business." She reported John to her supervisor, adding she'd even report him to the police if the information he had became public.

    Nevertheless he persisted. John told the elders of the congregation what he had seen on the hard drive that night in his "desire to protect the cleanness of Christian congregations. "

    This led three elders of the church to visit the woman's home to confront her on her day off. She wasn't home at the time.

    In December 2012 the bank fired John for "gross misconduct."

    He had disclosed confidential information to a third party, accessed information about a staff member without authorisation, and copied the information onto an external storage device.

    In the termination letter the bank said that he had "violated or infringed on the rights of the staff member" which was in breach of the bank's policies. They had lost confidence in him, and believed he'd brought the bank into disrepute.

    The Bankers Insurance General Workers Union never sought to justify John's sense of righteousness in their defense. Instead they argued his disciplinary hearings were not properly conducted. The court ruled that after he'd submitted a written confession, the bank wasn't left with many options, and any attempt to postpone the hearings, as he'd tried, was "wasting time and delaying the process."

    In the written judgment the court ruled it wasn't appropriate to apply the principles of one's religion.

    "There is a time and place for everything under the sun," the judgment read. "The work place simply cannot be treated as one's church where religion can be observed and practiced with minimum control."

    The court argued that without control, the workplace could become "devoid of peace, stability and tranquility." Each religion would want to be paramount but no one could be.

    The judgment further reads, "by his demeanor and his testimony, the worker was adamant that he was right to disclose the information to the elder of his church. His defense was therefore based on his religious persuasions. That defense could not be accepted in our industrial relations systems as any worker could put forward such defense in response to an act of misconduct and expect to be exonerated."

    The union hasn't appealed the decision.

  • cofty

    He is fortunate to get away with just being fired.

  • Londo111

    The elders here was doing exactly what Watchtower encourages.


  • sparrowdown

    Good news.

    I know a witness woman who worked in a DRs office and snooped in files for the elders. Even though there were witnesses that didn't like it no one ever called her out on it, as if reporting her to her employer would be "going too far". Not that her actions were going to far.

    Religious people have a dangerous mind virus.

  • stuckinarut2


    It seems that "Satan's System" understands what APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES are!

    (I would love to take legal action against the sister that worked for us and delved through our computer during work time, found this site and reported our research to the elders! I have it on good authority that she would face some serious legal charges...)

  • steve2

    Yes this is exactly consistent with a Watchtower article of several decades ago (I do not have the citation for date and pages - perhaps another poster does?) in which an example is given of a Witness who is a receptionist in the medical center who "discovers" that a fellow Witness had an abortion out of wedlock.

    The direction in that article is that the Witness receptionist has a "Christian" obligation to disclose the confidential patient information to the local body of elders. Interestingly, in that article, the receptionist is not told to contact the Witness patient and implore her to confess to the elders. To the best of my knowledge, that article has never been superseded by any subsequent articles that raise the significant issue of repercussions for employment on breaches of legally enforceable Privacy Codes (which, among other tings, forbid medical center employees from accessing medical files of patients they are not authorized to access).

    Under the circumstance of unauthorized accessing of confidential patient information, the employee can be charged with serious misconduct which provides grounds for dismissal and also, in some jurisdiction, face criminal prosecution.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    He said in his religion, such acts are prohibited, and "would bring reproach on the name of our Holy God Jehovah and would additionally disrupt the free flow of the Holy Spirit in the Christian congregation." -- Zoos

    I used to believe that we, as Jehovah's name people, should be willing to risk punishment from Caesar to uphold the cleanness of the organization.

  • LongHairGal


    Not too long ago, I had a conversation with my man in a local bank about this very topic of a bank employee snooping.

    He related a story of a young lady who was fired for looking up information on somebody's account for a friend. There was digital evidence that she had done so. This was not Witness related but my concern was about local JWs who might get a job there and could be tempted..I would not put it past some of them to do this!

  • Are you serious
    Are you serious

    This elder he was just following the rules and guidelines set forth by the org. If it was me and I was still not awake my WT trained conscience would've made me do the same thing. Unfortunately for Jane, she saw in action the power the org has in controlling what it's members do.

  • MrRoboto

    If you want to be serious about the cleanliness of the cong. then you have to burn every org bldg to the ground and free the captives.

    I am not advocating destruction or violence here but if the WT god wants to clean things up, that would be a great start.

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