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Anti-Islam employee awarded $30,000 for “unreasonable” dismissal

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HC Online | 05 Nov 2014, 12:03 PM Agree 0
A former employee of Theiss who sent an email maligning Muslims at work was found to have been unfairly dismissed by the FWC.
  • Matt Francis | 05 Nov 2014, 12:46 PM Agree 0
    This is disgusting - FWC should be ashamed!
  • Ro | 05 Nov 2014, 01:00 PM Agree 0
    I could understand if this was a case with a younger employee without the maturity to foresee the consequences... but at 65 years of age, surely a TAAor has the smarts not to send that guff to the entire company - he deserved the sack, not the payout IMHO.
  • Mike (Altona) | 05 Nov 2014, 03:30 PM Agree 0
    the FWC is just proving its nothing short of an ass - in terms of workplace and general community standards.
  • Sebastian | 06 Nov 2014, 09:39 AM Agree 0
    '...and (he) had previously received similar emails from other employees, including his supervisor.' His actions were clearly against policy and legislation. His lack of remorse or understanding is appalling and make him an unacceptable risk. However, it appears these attitudes had been expressed by others in the workplace and nothing was done. Why him and not his supervisor? This is a case of the culture of the organisation being brought to account. So I can understand the 'harsh' ruling, especially given he is unlikely to work again (a key consideration in these cases). I note there was no question about reinstatement and the FWA noted his contribution to the dismissal. It's not all black and white.
  • Kirsten | 06 Nov 2014, 10:10 AM Agree 0
    Had the content been of a different offensive nature, for example pornography, I wonder if this would have had the same result. Disappointing.
  • caca | 06 Nov 2014, 11:30 AM Agree 0
    He didn't know that the kind of email he sent out may be grounds of dismissal? At the age of 65 this man should really know better and the fact that he showed no understanding of why it was inappropriate showed what a risk to the company he was. I think the FWC was wrong to award him any compensation at all.
  • Amanda Rochford | 06 Nov 2014, 12:18 PM Agree 0
    Granted this man did the wrong thing and demonstrated little understanding of the situation. However, had the employer followed due process and issued a formal warning the result would have been different.
  • Samantha | 07 Nov 2014, 12:54 PM Agree 0
    I dont understand how personal circumstance outside the scope of the employment relationship can have such a significant impact on whether a decision is deemd harsh or not.

    The fact this man was 65 and unlikely to find employment elsewhere does not change the facts of the situation and it should not prove to be a burden on the employer. It certainly does not excuse his actions.

  • Sebastian | 07 Nov 2014, 03:53 PM Agree 0
    Samantha - there are a whole range of factors the FWC take into account when making these decisions. The more serious the consequences of a decision the higher the burden of proof needs to be. My reading of this is that Thiess overlooked a few key factors in their decision making that have been picked up by the commission. It is not simply a question of whether his behaviour was 'excusable'. It is also about whether he received 'fair treatment'. All managers making these decisions (and the HR people who advise them) need to be aware of the factors the Commission takes into account or they are exposing their organisation to a high level of risk.
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