By The Editor
A security guard at a Victorian university has failed to overturn his dismissal for serious misconduct, after he swore repeatedly and abruptly left a room while being questioned by management about another incident.
The security guard had originally been called to a meeting following an incident where he verbally confronted his team leader after arriving a few minutes late for a 6.30am shift.
As a result of a complaint, the security guard was called into an interview with the employer’s state manager and HR coordinator among others and was told he was being transferred to another campus in the Melbourne CBD to avoid further confrontations.
The security guard told management he would not agree to the transfer due to the cost of parking and the fact he had a fear of public transport due to an incident that occurred about 15 years ago (despite advising on his employment form that he did not have any nervous or mental disorders).
He then pushed his chair back, nearly tipping over the table, cursed loudly at the managers and left the room, fiercely slamming two doors while exiting. His employment was then terminated, not for the initial confrontation with his team leader, but for his conduct in the meeting.
The security guard told a Fair Work Australia hearing he may have uttered the words he was accused of in the meeting but could not recall due to stress.
Commissioner Michelle Bissett said the security guard’s work history suggested he was prone to verbal outbursts with inappropriate language, and his outburst in the meeting was so loud, it was overheard by the company’s CEO and an external client who he was meeting with at the time in another room.
Commissioner Bissett ruled the security guard’s behaviour to be “wilful or deliberate behaviour…that is inconsistent with the continuation of the contract of employment”, constituting serious misconduct under the Fair Work Regulations.
There was some debate about whether the security guard was informed of the reason of the meeting that ultimately resulted in his dismissal, but the Commissioner found the purpose of the meeting was not unrepresented, and the security guard could have asked for a support person at any time.
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