Stephen Campbell is a wharfie. His job is driving a big crane. He called his boss a ‘pig’ on Facebook. He also damaged a ship. It was not enough to sack him. He claimed unfair dismissal. According to the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne, his Employment Contract needed to refer to such Policies.
Stephen was sacked. He claimed unfair dismissal. The Fair Work Commission in Melbourne disagreed and taught Stephen respect. But only because the Employment Contract contained some unique protection for the Employer.
In a Legal Consolidated Employment Contract, you must follow procedures set by your Employer from time to time. However, few Employment Contracts contain this ongoing obligation. This was Stephen Campbell’s downfall.
The Employers policy included:
1. be polite on Facebook when talking about your Employer
2. don’t come to work with drugs in your system
Now, I hear you saying, “Brett, come on. Surely you don’t need to have an Employment Contract that expressly stops such terrible actions. Surely the law does not allow such behaviour?”
Well, you are wrong. The law protects only the Employee. Only one thing protects the Employer. That is the Employment Contract.
Employment Contract to the rescue
The Employment Contract stated that you could have a policy requiring the Employee to be polite on social media. This is when talking about your Employer. It allowed Deputy President Hamilton to say:
“It is a serious matter for an employee to publicly or semi-publicly call the Chairman of the company a ‘pig’. This is a rude and derogatory term carrying with it some contempt and hostility.”
What about Stephen’s drug problem? Grounds for unfair dismissal?
Again one would have thought it against the law to turn up with illegal drugs in your system. This is especially when you are operating huge cranes. Not so. The Employment Contract needs to be flexible enough to have a Policy prohibiting this. Legal Consolidated’s Employment Contract does. Stephen tested positive for amphetamines and opiates. This was contrary to the Employer’s Drug and Alcohol Management policy. The Policy, while changed from time to time, remained binding on the Employee. The Policy states that opiates and amphetamines are prohibited.
It was not of itself enough that Stephen damaged a ship and didn’t report the damage. It was not enough that Stephen denied causing the damage.
If you want to be able to sack a Stephen make sure you have a Legal Consolidated Barrister & Solicitor Employment Contract. You can build one online here.
For help building your Employment Contract online speak to my lawyers 24/7.
Adjunct Professor, Dr Brett Davies, CTA, AIAMA, BJuris, LLB, Dip Ed, BArts(Hons), LLM, MBA, SJD
Legal Consolidated Barristers and Solicitors
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