Hotel quarantine guards ‘caught having sex on job’


Two security guards allegedly caught engaging in sexual activity during a hotel quarantine shift tried to keep their relationship quiet but were busted after complaining about breaks to a supervisor.

And claims the Government didn't believe security firms would use sub-contractors at hotels used to quarantine returned travellers have been up-ended after documents emerged showing labour hire conditions were included in contracts.

Further evidence of disturbing behaviour by guards has continued to be unearthed during the hotel quarantine inquiry including:

URINATING on the floor of a bathroom;

TAKING food from bags left outside guest rooms;

HASSLING nurses for phone numbers and social media accounts;

The two guards allegedly caught in the act were outed earlier in the inquiry, when MSS Security Pty Ltd said they were removed from duty.

Staff at Rydges on Swanston receive a delivery of PPE. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Staff at Rydges on Swanston receive a delivery of PPE. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

But emails between senior managers released on Wednesday show that two other guards who were relieving the pair who were fired initially "tried to keep it in house".

They later were on the radio complaining about their breaks after being rostered on a different floor, before taking 28 minutes off during a 15 minute break together.

"It's 1 thing to take the piss out of the relievers but don't do it to the supervisor," one email says.

Another email took aim at a guard who fell asleep on the job three times "putting himself and others at risk", while another said those with poor aim in the bathroom were "painting the floor and the wall with Urine".

"Are we animals or Humans here?" the email says.

The cache of documents released also includes a contract drawn up between the Department of Treasury and Finance and MSS, one of three firms hired to guard the quarantine hotels.

The contract contains a clause which required MSS to notify the "lead department'' of any concerns about security staff "including any subcontractor.''

Another clause stated that MSS would be responsible for ensuring that "any Subcontractor complies with this clause.''

A female staff member at Rydges complained about the behaviour of guards towards staff and nurses. Picture: Getty Images
A female staff member at Rydges complained about the behaviour of guards towards staff and nurses. Picture: Getty Images

A third part of the contract covering billing data requires MSS to break down its total number of security guards in categories including permanent, casual and subcontractor.

And four "notice of intent'' are lodged within the contract advising that MSS intended to utilise the service or four separate subcontracting firms.

The decision to use private security firms, who in turn subcontracted much of their work, has been highly controversial and is a key area of interest to the hotel quarantine inquiry.

On August 27, the Department of Jobs, Regions and Precincts bureaucrat who hired the security firms, Katrina Currie, told the inquiry: "I didn't think that they would use subcontractors.''

The documents show MSS boss Jamie Adams wrote to Ms Currie on March 30, where he referenced their "subcontract partners'' and the requirement to pay them award wags.

Unified Security's hiring agreement also contains provisions on subcontractors.

Like MSS, Unified also had problems with its subcontracted security guards.

In May, the DJRP's Paul Xerri wrote to Unified, forwarding a complaint from a female staff member at Rydges hotel about the behaviour of guards towards staff and nurses.

"The guards in the lobby talk all day about the nurses in a disrespectful manner and come across that they are in charge of us all,'' the staff member wrote.

"Yesterday I had a couple times where I was spoken down too and made to feel like me saying `no' to simple things (I didn't want a packet of chips, I didn't want to watch a YouTube video and when I reminded them of their own policy about PPE when accepting deliveries) meant I was being difficult and that I was a 'bitten woman' and that I have 'trust issues' and I liked control.

"I was also told that 'because they were a wog when they say that you are to eat, you eat!' And that I was too skinny.

"This is completely unacceptable and I shouldn't be made to feel inadequate and like a second class citizen in my own workplace.''

The inquiry has been told of litany of failures at Rydges on Swanston in Carlton. Picture: Wayne Taylor
The inquiry has been told of litany of failures at Rydges on Swanston in Carlton. Picture: Wayne Taylor

The woman wrote that she was "absolutely tired of male security speaking in a manner that is condescending and rude to females here.

"I have been told by some female staff directly that they have been asked rude and inappropriate questions and felt harassed. Questions like asking repeatedly what our Instagram names are, comments like- 'you have a nice voice, are attractive' and being suggestive in the way they speak, calling someone a princess when we tell them we have a boyfriend, being intimidating, demanding who we are and blocking us when we are just trying to enter our own workplace.

"At this time as females alone and surrounded by males that act in this way we don't feel safe.''

Following the complaint, Unified terminated its subcontractor Elite Protection Services.

Further details also emerged in the documents about the original incident in which a family of four at Rydges, believed to be the "patient zero'' group, were involved in an environmental contamination incident.

It's thought very young, distressed children spread faecal matter around a room, resulting in the COVID-positive family being taken out of their room for an unscheduled break.

The vast majority of Victoria's second wave cases can be traced back genomically to that family's infections - all four were ill with COVID-19.

An email from the Rydges general manager Ross Menezes to DHHS staff showed nurses assisted the family - a mother and three children - clean their room.

"Room was very messy…kids drew on the walls,'' he wrote, in a heavily-redacted email.

"The nurses changed the linen…as the guests were unhappy that they had to do it themselves and the mother was struggling to keep up with the three kids.

"Nurses vacuumed the floor too since it was very messy.''


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Originally published as Hotel quarantine guards 'caught having sex on job'