Sacked: victim records road rage incident


Sacked: victim records road rage incident

An employee who was sacked over a road rage incident that was filmed by the victim has lost his unfair dismissal bid.


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The dismissal of an employee for road rage involving the intimidation of another road user has been found to be neither harsh, unjust nor unreasonable.

Victim recorded incident

A man had been employed since 2007 to test fire prevention and fighting equipment, which required him to travel to different work locations.

On 22 July 2016, while on his way home from work and driving a company car with a co-worker, a woman drove up beside him and made a rude gesture. The man rolled down the window and heated words and gestures were exchanged. He followed the woman when she made a turn and stopped. He pulled up behind her, aggressively close. When he walked up to her car, he found her recording the incident on her phone and saying she was calling the police.

The woman sent an email complaint with the video footage from her phone to the man’s employer. She alleged that she had been the victim of road rage, and that the man had tailgated her and then sworn at her and intimidated her.

As the employer’s business conduct was guided by ethical principles set out in policies and guidelines, the employer suspended the employee with pay pending an investigation into the complaint and his response to the allegations made. The employee duly responded to the allegations.

The employer was not convinced by his explanations and, at a subsequent meeting on 29 July 2016, it summarily terminated his employment for serious misconduct. The co-worker was given a written warning about his failure to report the incident.

The employee applied to the Fair Work Commission for a remedy for unfair dismissal according to s394 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

Employee had been trained in workplace policies

Commissioner Hampton established that the employee had been inducted into the employer’s policies on general workplace health and safety, including the prevention of workplace bullying and intimidation.

Although the incident had taken place after working hours, the employee had been driving a company car, badged with company details, and had been wearing a shirt with the company logo.

The commissioner found that the employee’s conduct had been contrary to policy and instructions and amounted to misconduct. Therefore the employer had a valid reason for his dismissal.

Commissioner Hampton took into account that the incident represented a single act of serious misconduct after relatively long service. However, as the employee had not shown any real recognition of his misconduct, he was ‘largely responsible for his own fate’. 

The dismissal had not been harsh, unjust or unreasonable and was therefore not unfair within the meaning of the Act. The employee’s application was dismissed.

I v Engie Fire Services Australia Pty Ltd, t/a Engie Services [2016] FWC 8389 (30 December 2016)
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