Two volunteers have been sacked from the RNLI lifeboat service after buying one another mugs with pictures of naked women with colleague’s heads superimposed on them.
The two unidentified men gave each other the mugs as Secret Santa gifts, according to The Sun.
After a manager found the mugs in a cupboard at the RNLI base in Whitby, the men were told to destroy them.
An investigation was then launched after the incident was marked as a ‘safeguarding breach’.
As a result, the two men were sacked and three others are believed to have resigned out of protest at their sacking, arguing that the x-rated pictures were ‘just banter’.
A source told The Sun: ‘One of the sacked men served 15 years. He should be given a medal, not his marching orders.
‘Two of the crew are women and told the managers that they were not offended. It’s overkill by the RNLI.’
However, the RNLI has defended their decision, arguing that it was ‘not a trivial matter’.
They said: ‘The lifeboat station should be an environment where people can expect to be treated with dignity and respect.
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‘We cannot allow bullying, harassment or discrimination in what should be a safe and inclusive environment and there will be serious consequences for anybody who demonstrates this behaviour within the RNLI.’
They added: ‘By challenging this behaviour, we are standing up for the thousands of volunteers who are committed to doing the right thing as they operate our 238 lifeboat stations, saving lives at sea around the clock, 365 days of the year.
‘Our dedicated volunteers represent the values and principles of our organisation and we will not allow any behaviour that brings the work of the RNLI and our people into disrepute.’
The RNLI said that the two volunteers now have the right to challenge the decision to sack them.