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UpdatesJul 18, 2018

FWC finds drunk worker not unfairly dismissed

An ALDI warehouse worker who was sacked for misconduct at a company Christmas party has had his unfair dismissal claim rejected.

The intoxicated employee became agitated after bar staff refused to continue serving him alcohol. He then threw a full glass of beer in the direction of other co-workers that narrowly missed them and smashed against a wall.

An ALDI warehouse worker who was sacked for misconduct at a company Christmas party has had his unfair dismissal claim rejected.

The intoxicated employee became agitated after bar staff refused to continue serving him alcohol. He then threw a full glass of beer in the direction of other co-workers that narrowly missed them and smashed against a wall.

After the employer investigated the incident by checking CCTV footage from the venue and interviewing other people who were present, the storeman was dismissed for serious misconduct and breaching ALDI Australia’s code of conduct.

In his unfair dismissal claim, the worker submitted that the employer must take some responsibility for the alleged misconduct, as it occurred while he was intoxicated at the company’s event where they had supplied alcohol.

He also argued that employees attending the function were not given any direction or guidance about expected standards of behaviour in advance and nobody appeared to be “in charge of the staff”.

However, it was found that shortly before the incident, at least three supervisors had spoken to him about his behaviour and had tried to calm him down.

In summary, the commissioner noted that while employees had not been specifically addressed about expected standards of behaviour prior to the event, the company had put in place arrangements designed to ensure that their behaviour did not get out of hand and this wasn’t a function where workers could simply help themselves to alcohol.

The commissioner also found that the worker’s “own evidence indicated he had been drinking prior to attending the function, and he continued to drink heavily after arriving” and therefore “should accept much of the responsibility for placing himself in these circumstances.”

“[A] full glass of beer being thrown in the direction of other employees… could have had significant consequences if they had been hit by the glass and its contents.”

“Fortunately, for [the employee] they were not.”

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