For going home on time at the end of his shift, a worker was dismissed – but won $32,000 in damages in the Industrial Court.
Commenting on the case, Dave Smith, General Secretary of the National Workers Union, said: “This would be funny if it were not such a sad indictment of the attitude of so many employers.”
The worker involved was an employee of Langston Roach Industries Limited when, in January 2008, the machine on which he was working broke down. Like a "good" worker, he went off and found something else to do until it was time to go home.
He went to help some other workers 'unstuffing' a container. Although he did not know it, the other workers had been asked to work overtime so that the container could be cleared as soon as possible.
At the end of his shift the worker went home as normal but, unbeknown to him, some of the other workers who had been asked to do overtime also left and went home.
The next morning, without an investigation, the employer promptly sacked all those who had gone home - including the worker who simply went home at the end of his shift.
Judgement in the case was given on 14th February 2012 and the written decision made available to the parties on 23rd February 2012.
In the view of the Industrial Court: "... the Company has not shown that the worker had committed any breach whatsoever or that he was guilty of any conduct which could justify any disciplinary actions of any kind being taken against him. ... His actions were those of an
industrious, dedicated and productive worker, interested in giving a full days work for which he should have been commended instead of being condemned."
In describing the Company's actions as "particularly harsh and oppressive", the Court ordered damages of $32,000.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dave Smith (General Secretary - Cell: 683-5305)