Airport manager fired over sex romps

By Edward Gay

Dieter Ravnjak worked at the airport for 20 years - until a camera installed in the emergency operations centre caught him 'groping' a female staff member. Photo / Thinkstock
Dieter Ravnjak worked at the airport for 20 years - until a camera installed in the emergency operations centre caught him 'groping' a female staff member. Photo / Thinkstock

A senior manager at Wellington Airport was sacked after taking part in "sexual activity" with a colleague in an emergency centre.

Dieter Ravnjak worked at the airport for 20 years - until a camera installed in the emergency operations centre caught him "groping" a female staff member who reported to him.

Mr Ravnjak went to the Employment Relations Authority seeking reinstatement while he waits for it to conduct a full investigation.

But the authority rejected his bid in a decision released yesterday, and warned: "It is always a risk to the smooth running of an employer's business to have a manager and a subordinate entering into a relationship of a sexual nature ..."

Authority member Greg Wood said Mr Ravnjak and the woman were filmed several times going into the emergency room, which houses civil defence equipment and police radios.

"On one of these occasions, the pair entered into what can only be described - despite them both being clothed - as sexual activity," Mr Wood said in his decision.

On two of the occasions the pair went into a separate locked room, out of shot from the camera, he said.

"Mr Ravnjak denied, in evidence, that anything of a sexual nature occurred in that room," Mr Wood said.

He said Mr Ravnjak gave evidence that he had been "admiring" the emergency equipment.

But Wellington Airport management told the authority that the woman had admitted having a sexual relationship with Mr Ravnjak in the emergency room.

The management also claimed that he had been told not to enter the emergency management room, which was controlled by a security keypad.

Mr Wood's decision said Mr Ravnjak spent most of his time in the room watching television, drinking coffee and talking to the woman.

Three months of film showed Mr Ravnjak had been in the emergency room for 14 hours in total, sometimes for up to half an hour.

Senior airport managers held formal disciplinary meetings in December last year and ruled Mr Ravnjak was guilty of gross misconduct.

Mr Ravnjak told his employers that he had an excellent employment record but had let everyone down over the previous three months and said that was "not the real me".

He volunteered for monitoring and counselling and offered his employer reparation for his time wasting.

But airport management found they could no longer have trust or confidence in Mr Ravnjak and he was sacked.

He filed a personal grievance claim against the airport and will argue his case at a hearing next week.

Mr Wood said Mr Ravnjak argued that his sexual relationship with his colleague had not been part of the airport's original investigation.

He also claimed that he was never told that he was not allowed in the emergency room.

- NZ Herald

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