Employee awarded $26,000 after dismissal for running sex store

A worker was unfairly dismissed after selling sex toys outside of work

Employee awarded $26,000 after dismissal for running sex store
CSL Limited has been ordered to pay an employee $26,000 for unfair dismissal after he was sacked selling sex toys outside of work, in addition to a number of other allegations.

The worker was employed by Seqirus, a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company CSL, between July 2015 and January 2017, when his employment was terminated.

From September to December 2016 he made a number of workplace bullying allegations against his direct manager.

However, during the same period CSL started performance management with the employee and raised a number of concerns about his own behaviour.

After taking stress leave (which was backed up by medical evidence) the company dismissed the employee, claiming he failed to communicate an extended absence and did not attend three meetings in January.

In addition to concerns about his performance, the company alleged that he had breached his employment contract by selling sex toys.

The employee was awarded compensation equivalent to eight weeks’ salary plus superannuation, however given that his relationship had become irreparable, there was no order made to reinstate him.

Commissioner Nicholas Wilson said in the verdict that although CSL characterises the employee’s behaviour as "misconduct", he is not satisfied in all circumstances that it was, and accordingly does not discount the amount of compensation for that factor.

“Reasonably if CSL considered the running of either the snaapit site or an eBay store was in breach of its employment contract it could have told him that with an “end it now” directive and that could have been the end of the matter,” said Wilson.

“However, in the context of both the evidence in relation to the allegation about Mr Saunders extracurricular activities as well as the other allegations that were made against him, the Commission is drawn to the probability that from the time CSL found out about the stores and what they sold, it had already made the decision to part company with him.”

HRD contacted Seqirus for comment and a spokesperson said the company is unhappy with the result.

“Seqirus is disappointed by the outcome of the case, however we do not see value in protracting the matter through a costly appeal process,” said the spokesperson.

“While it is not appropriate for us to comment on the specifics of any legal cases, we take pride in our record as an Australian employer who is committed to treating our people in a lawful and fair manner, and engendering a workplace culture of mutual trust and respect.”

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