Leaving early was not abandoning job

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Leaving early was not abandoning job

A Federal Magistrate has ruled a library assistant who left work early with a stomach bug did not abandon her employment.

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A Federal Magistrate has ruled a library assistant who left work early with a stomach bug did not abandon her employment.
 
In June 2008, the Video City worker gave two weeks notice to her employer.
 
The day before she gave notice, she had left work early because she was vomiting, and was later diagnosed with gastroenteritis and given a medical certificate for two days off work.
 
The worker had also left her key and badge at work, against normal practice.
 
In the meantime, her boss assumed that the worker had abandoned her employment when she failed to turn up for her shift.
 
Intention to work notice
 
However, Federal Magistrate Barbara Baker accepted the worker’s evidence that her mother had advised her employer that she was sick and would be taking some days off work.
 
She rejected the employer’s evidence that if the worker Ms Smith had provided a medical certificate ‘all would have been resolved’.
 
‘It was the practice for Video City employees to provide medical certificates upon their return to work after being absent due to sickness,’ she said.
 
Baker also found that the worker’s action in obtaining a medical certificate could have been ‘for no purpose other than to provide it to her employer’.
 
‘I find that she intended to work out her period of notice,’ Baker said.
 
‘I am of the view therefore, that it was not reasonable for Mr Ewing (boss) to infer that Ms Smith’s (worker) conduct clearly evinced an intention by her to abandon her employment.’
 
‘I find that the evidence justifies a finding that the actions of Video City were actions in breach of the contract of employment that was continuing and as such it unlawfully terminated that contract.’
 
The Magistrate ordered Video City to pay the worker for her wages, payment in lieu of notice and annual leave loading, totalling $3272.
 
 
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