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A disrespectful attitude results in reinstatement

A disrespectful attitude results in reinstatement (Last Updated On: May 28, 2018)

A Fair Work Commission decision which ruled a Centrelink employee who called clients “spastics” and “junkies” to be reinstated, is being appealed.

The Centrelink employee originally won his unfair dismissal case, with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruling the man was to be reinstated. However, the Department of Human Services has lodged an appeal to the Commission, stating they were not satisfied with its ruling.

Daniel Starr was employed by Centrelink for 21 years, before being fired for breaching social media guidelines when he called clients ‘spastics and junkies’ and stating his fellow co-workers ‘were utterly useless and could not get a job anywhere else.”

Mr Starr had made comments about delays in the department’s service delivery time on the online forum Whirlpool. The forum states that Youth Allowance claims take at least 21 days to process, however Mr Starr responded that this was incorrect information.

In one post he stated “Please, you need to stop giving this incorrect information. The KPI for Youth Allowance student claims is now 42 days, not 21. Continually saying 21 days, as it used to be, is doing nothing other than giving people false hope, and increasing customer traffic.”

Due to Mr Starr’s comments, a full investigation was launched which showed other derogatory comments he had made regarding his co-workers and clients. Mr Starr’s criticisms were found to have breached the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct, however the FWC found that members of the Australian Public Service were not required to be respectful of the government outside of working hours. Therefore, the Commission ruled Mr Starr’s dismissal was harsh and ordered his reinstatement.

Employsure understands the importance of having a clearly outlined social media policy in place for employees to follow. If you would like to discuss your current social media policies or you would like assistance implementing them into your workplace, call Employsure on 1300 651 415. We can help ensure your employees know what is and is not acceptable when it comes to social media in your workplace.

Sourced from the Sydney Morning Herald

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