ATC Dismissed For Having Sex At Work Regains License
In a recent ruling, an air traffic controller who was fired after an inquiry revealed that he had been chained to his chair and engaged in sexual activities while providing directions to pilots has been granted his license back. The guy filed an appeal against the decision of the director of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to cancel his air traffic control license.
In the end, the court found that although the guy did have intercourse while working in the control tower, he had not been shackled at the time, and so had not been physically prohibited from doing his job. Suppression orders have been issued in connection with the case. The identity of the guy and the other people involved, as well as the location of his job, cannot be revealed.
With the help of a dating service, the guy started an extra-marital relationship with a lady he met in 2017. Despite the fact that the lady resided in a different area of the nation, the two would meet up for sexual encounters in hotels and motels in various locations.
After around five months, the relationship came to a harsh end, which resulted in the lady phoning the guy’s wife and told her that the couple had engaged in sexual activity in the control tower while the man was restrained by handcuffs.
When the CAA received word of this, they immediately launched an inquiry.
The lady admitted to the investigator that she and the male had had sexual relations in the control tower on two separate occasions. A time when he was chained in a chair and needed to speak with a pilot, she had to manipulate his phone so he could connect with the pilot.
The guy said that the sexual conduct described by the lady had taken place, but that it had taken place in a hotel room rather than the control tower. He further claimed that the lady had threatened to destroy his life unless he paid her $50,000 in cash.
On the basis of “the balance of possibilities,” the CAA director concluded that he was inclined to trust the lady. He said that he intended to cancel the man’s license and urged him to submit any more information before making a final judgment.
The director expressed worry about the man’s propensity to engage in dangerous behavior while on duty, especially when it came to having sex and allowing himself to be physically restrained at a time when his ability to fulfill his air traffic control responsibilities was critical.
His conduct was deemed “very reckless,” “intolerable,” and “demonstrating exceptionally poor judgment” by the director. A final decision to terminate the man’s driving privileges was reached in mid-2019, and he filed an appeal.
On three days in December last year, Judge Chris Tuohy heard the appeal in the Wellington District Court, which was heard by a jury. The woman’s claim of “sex in the tower” was refuted by the male, who contended that she lacked credibility since she was motivated by spite and revenge and hence lacked credibility.
While the man’s evidence of dates and locations was clear and consistent, Judge Tuohy found that the woman’s testimony was “confused and in some ways improbable or clearly incorrect.”
However, neither of them could be classified as trustworthy, and “the story of their affair demonstrates that both are capable of deception over an extended period of time.” However, the court observed that the man had continuously denied that they had engaged in sexual conduct in the tower, but he thought it to be “inherently probable” and was convinced that they had engaged in such activity in the tower.
[The guy] would have to be shackled in his chair in the control room during sexual activity, and she would have to press the radio handset against his lips and switch the transmission button on and off in order for him to talk to a pilot, which I find significantly less conceivable.”
He agreed with the CAA director that the guy had acted irresponsibly by having sex in the tower and had “increased the danger of others working in the aviation system” as a result of his actions.
In contrast to what the director stated, the individual had not been physically prohibited from fulfilling his responsibilities. Furthermore, although the behavior had been unsafe, it had not been “nearly as risky as that on which the director relied” when reaching the decision to revoke the license.
The court took into consideration the fact that the man’s behavior had only lasted a brief period of time, the fact that he was unlikely to engage in such behavior in the future, his successful and incident-free professional career, and a favorable psychological evaluation.