A woman who was sacked after dobbing in her boss for drink driving has won her unfair dismissal claim.
As a result, the Fair Work Commission awarded the worker more than $2,500 compensation.
Bob Green, the franchise owner of Andersens carpet and flooring business based at Tweed Heads, sacked Hayley Bond in August last year.
He did so after she twice reported him to the company’s head office for his alcohol consumption on the job.
The first incident
The first incident happened in November 2016, when Bond observed Green “showing signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, confusion, and forgetfulness in his speech, and being unable to walk properly”.
When Green then drove off in a company vehicle to perform a measure and quote for a customer, Bond contacted head office and then called the police.
A patrol car stopped Green for a breath test.
He subsequently returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.11, and as a result, had his driving licence suspended.
The second incident
The second incident happened in July 2017, when Bond reported Green to head office for a second time.
Green again appeared intoxicated “with an unsteady walk, slurred speech and exhibiting signs of confusion”.
He then fell asleep on a sofa in the office kitchen for two hours.
Andersen’s Chief Executive Brian Cooper immediately drove to the store to start “actions to terminate the franchising agreement”.
‘There’s been a breach within us’
At a subsequent staff meeting in August, Green told Bond and two other staff members that head office planned to “close this store down”.
He accused Bond of violating the employment code by “referring information to certain parties in head office, um, about myself, ah – a lot of it very un-factual”.
The following week, Green summarily dismissed Bond.
In an email, he wrote:
“On several occasions you have made disparaging comments about the business and the owner of the business.
“Accordingly, we confirm that your employment with us is terminated effective immediately.”
No valid reason for dismissal
Fair Work Commissioner Jennifer Hunt found Bond reporting her concerns did not constitute a valid reason for dismissal.
“For the benefit of relevant road users at the time, Ms Bond was well within her rights to report Mr Green’s conduct, and thankfully she did so.
“I do not accept that Ms Bond reported her concerns for malicious reasons or in pursuit of a personal grudge.”
Worker had obligation to report boss
Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, says the Commission’s decision is unsurprising.
“I believe the moment Mr Green decided to get behind the wheel of the company van when drunk, Ms Bond had a moral obligation to report him,” he said.
“He presented a clear and present danger to public safety.
“Incredibly, Mr Green appeared more concerned about Ms Bond calling head office, rather than calling the police.
“It makes me think he cared more about losing his business than killing someone on the road.”
Commissioner Hunt ordered Green to pay Bond $2,565 compensation, plus superannuation.
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