'Threatening' email from Cold Xpress boss ends in payout


Cold Xpress boss loses cool over workplace error, prompting angry email which leads to compensation for aggrieved worker

'Threatening' email from Cold Xpress boss ends in payout
‘Threatening’ email from Cold Xpress boss ends in payout
By Brad Gardner | May 2, 2012

A "threatening" email from Cold Xpress to its workforce sparked a walkout from one of its employees and ended up saddling the company with a compensation bill.

Cold Xpress Director John Di Losa lost his cool on October 7 after believing a data input error was responsible for the company needing to send an extra vehicle at its own expense to country NSW to collect two boxes for a client.

The refrigerated freight operator had invested in a new program to import data directly from customers into its own system to improve accuracy and efficiency, but data entry operator Marion Griffin insisted on manually entering figures.

Di Losa previously told Griffin to import data directly and he believed she was responsible for the error when he fired off the all-staff email.

"Let me put it plainly to all concerned. I did not spend over $200,000 on a new transport system because I had nothing better to do with my money!" Di Losa noted in the October 7 missive.

"If one more keying in error occurs when we could have imported without incident I will expect the person who made that mistake to pay for all associated costs in fixing up the error."

Di Losa was later informed the error was due to a warehousing issue. While he did not name Griffin in his email, she became distressed upon reading it and told a colleague she was going home.

The walkout left the family-run Cold Xpress in the lurch because it had no other data entry operator on site. Di Losa believed Griffin had resigned, so when she turned up for work after the weekend on October 10 she found out she had no job.

Griffin turned to Fair Work Australia and launched an unfair dismissal claim, which the industrial umpire upheld. Commissioner John Ryan ruled that Griffin did not intend to nor did she resign from her position.

He says the company gave her the impression she was sacked when Di Losa’s wife told Griffin on October 10: "What you did got John upset and he doesn’t want you here anymore."

Ryan ruled that unapproved leave from the workplace was not a "sound, defensible or well founded" reason for Cold Xpress to sack Griffin.

He labelled the language in Di Losa’s email "intemperate in threatening to make staff who made keystroke errors pay for the costs suffered" by the company.

Ryan ruled it inappropriate to reinstate Griffin, saying she was unlikely to have remained there in the long-term and that her position would have become redundant in the near future. Instead, he ordered Cold Xpress to pay her $3300 within 21 days from May 1.

In his email to staff, Di Losa said sending a truck to Hay to collect the two boxes would cost the company about $800 to fix. He claimed two errors a night on a country run could sting the company by as much as $5000.

"We have a system in place, which we all need to use," the email says.

The Victorian-based Cold Xpress says it delivery schedule includes Hay, Wagga Wagga, Mt Gambier, Mildura and Griffith.

It boasts a fleet of more than 60 trucks and counts Primo Smallgoods, Baiada Steggles, Hans Smallgoods and G&K Fine Foods among its major clients.

The company’s website says ColdXpress is planning to fully upgrade its computer system by 2013.




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