Getting away with bad behaviour

An employee got his job back after being sacked for using inappropriate language and sexually harassing employees while drunk at an office Christmas party.

The employee was sacked after:

  • getting drunk at an out of work Christmas party, paid for by the employer;
  • bullying colleagues;
  • sexually harassing female colleagues; and
  • telling superiors to “fuck off”.

That’s despite one of the managers saying:

I said the work Christmas party is on tonight, I’m not going but to those guys who are going, enjoy yourself, it is a thank you for your work this year. Kevin is putting drinks on for everyone. Do me a favour, don’t be that idiot that I have to deal with on Monday morning. Don’t be that person who gets blind drunk, abuses someone or punches someone. Have a good time.

at paragraph 18

The FWC determined that the employee’s conduct was enough to have him sacked.

Unfair dismissal also considers the process of sacking an employee.

The FWC found that the dismissal was harsh because it was disproportionate to the gravity of the conduct.

The FWC noted:

  • no particular damage to the workplace environment;
  • the employee’s otherwise good employment record;
  • It was a one-off event;
  • the employee was drunk;
  • the manner of the service of alcohol at the Christmas function, including the employer’s failure to exercise any real control over this;
  • the availability of alternatives to dismissal which were proportionate to the conduct involved; and
  • the employer’s response here compared to another workplace incident.

The FWC ordered the employer to given the employee his job back.

Further reading: Keenan v Leighton Boral Amey Joint Venture (2015) FWC 3156

By | 2017-06-01T13:06:20+10:00 8 July 2015|Categories: Case note|Tags: , , , , , |

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