An electrician who calls himself the ‘Nazi Sparky’ has been ordered to pay a former employee $11,400 after unfairly dismissing him.
Simon Hickey sacked the young apprentice after falsely accusing him of theft, in a process the Fair Work Commission described as “appalling”.
Hickey owns Smerff Electrical based in Brisbane and refers to himself as the ‘Nazi Sparky’ on his website.
His business logo features the alt-right meme Pepe the Frog wearing a SS uniform outside Auschwitz.
Hickey hit the headlines in 2017 following revelations that his company sponsored the neo-Nazi website, ‘The Daily Stormer‘.
Jordan Lamacq started working for Hickey at the beginning of 2017.
Later that year, he signed a written employment contract that the Commission said “makes for interesting reading”:
“You will be paid Weekly at the rate of $15 per hour. If you are unhappy with your wage, you can f*ck off. Nobody is forcing you to work here.”
In May 2018, Hickey sacked Lamacq after accusing him of theft and misusing a company vehicle.
Hickey also claimed Lamacq accepted a cash job for a Smerff customer without his approval.
What the Commission found
Deputy president Ingrid Asbury accepted that Lamacq may have used company tools and vehicle for the cash job.
However, she found the allegations of theft unfounded, and described Hickey’s language as “appalling”.
“No employee should ever be subjected to the threats and abuse meted out by Mr Hickey in his text messages and the email sent to Mr Lamacq between 14 and 16 May 2018.
“That an employer would subject an employee, much less an apprentice, to such language beggars belief.”
The threatening email
Hickey sent Lamacq an email threatening police action over the alleged theft.
He also said complaining to the Fair Work Ombudsman is a waste of time:
“Live and learn dumb c*nt. I never would have picked you as a thief but now I know better.
“Here’s the number for fair work Australia 13 13 94. Do you know how many calls they get per day?
“Boo Hoo this c*nt fired me and he wasn’t paying me leave loading 12% or some sh*t.
“Do you know what these c*nts do about it? Nothing unless it’s a company worth prosecuting.
“They know they’ll get nothing from me and even if they could get me for something what would it be? Your wage which $7 over the award one year less difference in super they might tell me to owe you $30.
“Like I am going out of business anytime soon. Look what they thrown at me and I am still here.
“Fair Work gonna put me out of business LMAO.”
‘Nazi Sparky’ ordered to pay compensation
Ms Asbury said the reasons for Lamacq’s dismissal are “within the spectrum” of valid reasons, however, she ultimately found the dismissal indefensible.
“Any legitimacy about the issues that Mr Hickey may have raised with Mr Lamacq is lost by virtue of being couched in terms so offensive that no employee should be expected to endure such treatment.”
She also noted that private use of the company car and tools had previously been allowed, and Lamacq had not received an indication that the policy had changed.
She found Hickey failed to notify Lamacq of the reasons for his dismissal and furthermore, failed to give him sufficient opportunity to respond.
Pointing to the employment contract which read, “If you are unhappy with your wage you can f*ck off,” Asbury said:
“I have not previously encountered a small business owner with such a deplorable attitude to human resource management.”
In conclusion, Ms Asbury found Hickey did not have a valid reason for dismissal, and therefore it had been unfair.
She ordered Hickey to pay Lamacq $11,400 – twelve weeks of wages.
What the experts say
Employment law expert Christiaan van Oeveren from IR Claims says he is appalled by the ‘Nazi Sparky’.
“His conduct is outrageous and completely unacceptable, but unfortunately we see it all too often,” he said.
“Young apprentices are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by unscrupulous tradies, because they often don’t know their workplace rights, or they are afraid to complain.”
Mr van Oeveren said any worker who is being exploited or has been unfairly dismissed from employment should seek urgent legal advice.
“YOUNG APPRENTICES ARE EASY TARGETS FOR EXPLOITATION”
Please call our team at Industrial Relations Claims today on