A Devonport-based TasTAFE teacher who was sacked from his job last year for kissing a student on the lips during a field trip has been reinstated within the organisation.
Tourism guide teacher Shane Pinner, 57, lost his job last year after TasTAFE chief executive Jenny Dodd found he had breached the organisation's code of conduct following a complaint from nine students about his behaviour.
She said Mr Pinner had engaged in inappropriate touching of a mature-age student on three occasions during a field trip at Cradle Mountain which included:
- kissing the woman on the lips for three seconds while holding her face;
- resting his hands on her shoulders during a group discussion
- and touching her hair and face on two or three occasions.
Ms Dodd said the behaviour constituted a breach of the organisation's code of conduct as Mr Pinner had failed to treat the student with respect and without harassment and had abused the teacher-student power relationship.
Mr Pinner took the matter to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission on the basis he was unfairly dismissed.
This was accepted by the commission
In her decision, commission deputy president Neroli Ellis ordered he be reinstated to his job as soon as practical and no later than term one.
She said Mr Pinner should be paid his normal weekly wage from January 11.
In evidence given before a hearing, Mr Pinner did not deny kissing the student but said he did not intend to disrespect or harass her.
He said the kiss was made with pursed lips in an attempt to "ham up" a photo taken of the two and that there was no sexual motivation.
Ms Ellis noted there was a lack of sworn evidence from the students as part of the hearings and acknowledged an unblemished record during Mr Pinner's time with TasTAFE from 1999
"I find the conduct of Mr Pinner towards the students on this field trip was unacceptable in the course of his employment as a teacher," she said.
"The conduct was not deliberate or wilful, rather foolish and stupid.
"Whilst Mr Pinner's behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable in his role as a teacher on the field trip, I find the lack of any part performance issues indicate it was not a pattern of behaviour."
Ms Dodd on Tuesday said TasTAFE had complied with the industrial commission's ruling.