Council workers going to the TAB on work time isn’t a sackable offence, Queensland’s industrial tribunals have found.
It’s OK for council workers to have a punt on the horses during work time, if a recent decision by a Queensland tribunal is anything to go by.
A council worker sacked for gambling on the job has been reinstated after successfully claiming unfair dismissal.
The park maintenance employee won his job back even after it was revealed he and other council workers regularly went to the TAB when they were meant to be working.
Chipper Mark Moorhead was fired from Moreton Bay Regional Council last September after he and four workmates went to the TAB on work time, according to a recently published judgment of the Industrial Court of Queensland.
Council supervisors got wind of the unauthorised smoko and confronted the group when they emerged from the Kippa-Ring TAB on September 9, 2013.
The workers pretended they’d been to the bank but Mr Moorhead later cracked under pressure from his manager and admitted the truth.
He was sacked a fortnight later with a letter that said he’d breached his responsibilities as an employee and by lying had demonstrated a “lack of understanding about the seriousness of the incident”.
At least one other worker also lost his job but it’s not clear what happened to the others.
However Mr Moorhead managed to win his job back after appealing to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
The commission found the council had been too harsh despite hearing evidence from another council worker that Mr Moorhead and others regularly placed bets at the TAB on work time.
The commission decided there wasn’t enough evidence to back the claims and took into account Mr Moorhead’s good record and promise to obey the council’s code of conduct.
“The commission is of the view that with appropriate supervision and in light of the commitment made by Mr Moorhead, that trust and confidence in the employment relationship is capable of being restored,” its judgement said.
The council then went to the Industrial Court of Queensland to reverse the decision but the court backed the commission’s judgment and threw out the appeal.