Designer sacks worker for insulting HR manager

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Designer sacks worker for insulting HR manager

Fashion designer Alex Perry justifiably sacked a worker for threatening and intimidating colleagues, the FWC has ruled.

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Fashion designer Alex Perry justifiably sacked a worker for insulting an HR manager and  threatening and intimidating female colleagues, the FWC has ruled.

The employee’s misconduct created a threat to the health and safety of other employees at the workplace.

Warned about abusive behaviour


Sirajul Bashir was a pattern-maker/machinist who worked on clothes designed by the employer’s business. He had previously received two written warnings after altercations with other staff. After a female co-worker criticised some of his work, he made the threat to one of “I’ll f*ck you up the a*rse” during a shouting match with her, and when he heard that another woman had criticised his work, he said “I will f*cking slap her”.

A third incident involved the HR manager. When she approached him regarding some faulty workmanship on a dress that had to be redone, he reacted in a heated and violent way and denied the work was faulty. When she attempted to hand him a warning letter, he threw it at her, shouted “I’m not signing this” and “you are nothing” and demanded to speak to Alex Perry (who was not at the workplace then). However, Mr Perry later dismissed him for serious misconduct.

Mr Bashir denied any wrongdoing and claimed he had never sworn while at work, or never sworn at other employees. He claimed that Mr Perry had used similar abusive language when referring to another female employee and said that he wanted to “get rid of her”. This was denied. Mr Bashir also claimed that swearing was common in the workplace, that he had never received any warning letters, and that a signed employment contract was “not my contract”.

He claimed that the employer had attempted to dismiss him for poor work performance, which he denied. However, he was dismissed for the misconduct described above. The commission found him to be a witness “of little credit”.

Mr Bashir claimed he was unfairly dismissed.

Decision


The FWC dismissed his claim, finding that there was a valid reason for dismissal and that the employer had handled it in a procedurally fair way, by obtaining firm evidence from four other employees who witnessed his conduct. Even if the dismissal had been harsh, reinstatement would have been impracticable because Mr Bashir failed to acknowledge his misconduct or take any responsibility, and totally disregarded the employer’s policy and procedures.

Mr Bashir was represented by a union, but the FWC described the union’s case as “trying to defend the indefensible”.

The bottom line: The abusive language, threats of violence and sexual assault, and intimidation of co-workers amounted to a threat to their health and safety at work. Therefore, the employee’s conduct met the test for serious misconduct justifying dismissal.

Read the judgment


Bashir v Alex Perry Pty Ltd t/a Alex Perry, [2019] FWC 2041, 28 March 2019 
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