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Employees Behaving Badly

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The Fair Work Commission has upheld an employee’s application for unfair dismissal following a positive blood alcohol test at work. The employee, a maintenance worker, underwent a pre-work blood alcohol test.  His blood alcohol content first showed at 0.013%, and 0.006% some 30 minutes later.  The employee was stood down for the day, and his employment was terminated summarily 4 days later for breach of the company’s zero-tolerance Drug and Alcohol Policy. Whilst the employee…

A recent unfair dismissal decision contains key lessons for employers when managing employee use (and abuse) of work-related devices. In this case the employer terminated the Applicant’s employment for failure to comply with a direction to repay a debt of $15,000 – being personal phone charges incurred on a work phone. The Facts The employer issued the Applicant with a work mobile phone. In late 2014, the employer detected that the Applicant’s use of the…

Aggressive and sexually inappropriate behaviour whilst under the influence of alcohol may be a harsh reason for dismissal if the employer supplied the alcohol. A team leader who was dismissed after he used inappropriate language and harassed and bullied colleagues on the night of a work Christmas function successfully argued that his dismissal was unfair. The art of polite conversation The Christmas function took place in a hotel where the employees attending had unlimited access…

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has granted interim orders to halt a disciplinary process (in effect preventing any dismissal that may result) pending determination of related disputes. The employer in this case, the Metropolitan Fire & Emergency Services Board (MFB) commenced a disciplinary process after discovering pornographic, racist and otherwise inappropriate emails. The disciplinary process had been underway for some period of time, and the union of the employee concerned had lodged disputes with the…