Rio Tinto staff stood down over porn access allegations

A number of workers at Rio Tinto's Hamersley Iron operations in Western Australia have been stood down for allegedly receiving and distributing Internet pornography which the company has classifed as "highly offensive material".

A Rio Tinto spokesman said the incident involves more than a dozen employees, who will be sacked if they have breached the company's strict e-mail policy which is signed off by all staff.

He said the staff have been stood down while an investigation is conducted by the human resources department.

"We don't know the numbers of people who have received it [the e-mail] but I understand it's gone out and around a fair bit," he said.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union was unavailable for comment.

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