Fiery Toll employee shown the door

Fair Work says Toll was right to sack an employee who abused his colleagues and defied company directions

By Brad Gardner | March 17, 2011

Toll was right to sack an employee who abused his colleagues and defied directions, the industrial relations umpire has ruled.

Fair Work Australia Vice President Michael Lawler yesterday rejected forklift driver Michael Chahine’s unfair dismissal claim against the transport and logistics company.

Lawler found that Chahine displayed "extremely abusive behaviour" – at one point he told his manager to "f*** off" – over a dispute involving his failure to attend a company meeting.

Chahine subsequently ignored an order to return to work and was asked to leave Toll’s Eastern Creek depot in NSW. Police had to be called to escort him from the property after he refused.

"He could have pursued his grievance through a dispute resolution process. Instead he behaved in a manner that was wholly unacceptable and left Toll’s managers with no real option but to dismiss him," Lawler says.

"In all the circumstances I have concluded that the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable."

Chahine was told he would suffer a pay cut after failing to attend a company meeting when it was announced over the PA system. Chahine claimed he did not hear the announcement, prompting him to become hostile when told he would be penalised.

While Lawler agreed with Chahine that he was unaware a meeting had been called, he ruled that it did not justify his reaction.

During a disciplinary meeting, Chahine said to his managers: "who the f*** are you to tell me what to do; I’ll do what I want".

At one point he said he was "going to kill someone". Lawler ruled that it was not a death threat but rather Chahine was so distressed at being accused of deliberately ignoring the meeting that he might be involved in an accident.

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