He discovered the employee was routinely spending a substantial amount of work time on his mobile phone while seated at the reception desk when he was responsible for supervising a class.
When confronted about his phone use, the worker said it was limited before being confronted with the CCTV vision. He was then urged to sign a prepared resignation letter, but later retracted it, saying it had been given to him under duress. He was then dismissed, effective on May 21.
Commissioner Ian Cambridge said there was a valid reason for the dismissal based on the worker’s mobile phone use which might distract him from direct supervision.
However, small business fair dismissal procedures were not followed. The employer did not provide a proper opportunity for the worker to respond or explain his conduct or to have a support person present when he was asked to resign. The summary dismissal, as opposed to a dismissal with notice, also contributed to the finding that the sacking was harsh and unreasonable.