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Gay claims in employment case
21 June 2010 Legal Issues

The Dominion Post has reported on an employment case in which allegations of “gayness” are central when two officers were sacked for leaking information to the Christchurch press.

The Dominion Post reported:

Evidence shows officers at the airport were concerned about a gay officer, described as “flamboyant”, who allegedly sought more than his share of strip-search assignments and made lewd comments about male passengers. The officer, who still works for the service and whose name is suppressed, also allegedly used recreational drugs.

Glenn Rankin, an assistant chief customs officer with nearly 17 years’ service, and John Smith, an officer for eight years, were sacked in March for allegedly leaking details of the gay officer’s work behaviour to The Press. Mr Rankin’s supervisor was gay and the authority also heard about another gay officer at Christchurch Airport.

Both men deny leaking material and say they were unjustifiably dismissed. They want their jobs back.

Customs manager, central and southern airports, Stuart Lumsden told the hearing the gay officer’s search statistics could look bad, but he worked the busiest shifts and was often the only male available to search male passengers. Invasive searches were made only with the approval of a senior officer.

The service did not want Mr Rankin and Mr Smith back even if the authority decided they were unjustifiably dismissed, Mr Lumsden said.

At the centre of the men’s arguments seems to the accusations that because someone is gay they can’t perform strip searches in a professional manner.

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