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TerminationJanuary 16, 2017
Two parking inspector employees at Sydney’s Inner West Council have been fired after they were recorded badmouthing their boss and his wife on a mounted body camera.
Whilst the Council allegedly had a policy in place which stipulated that all conversations between employees were private, the full-time and casual inspectors both lost their jobs due to the recording.
“I can’t believe the Council fired me right before Christmas,” the casual inspector stated, “even though I was not saying anything, because I was part of the conversation I got fired.”
Sydney Inner West Council introduced the WOLFCOM body mounted cameras in June 2015, as a way to protect inspectors’ safety after a number of verbal and physical attacks. The camera’s default setting is to erase footage every three minutes, with employees only pressing the record button if they are in danger. If an irrelevant recording is made, employees are to email the Council and request them to delete it.
The casual employee believed that her colleague accidently pressed record on her device sometime after their break for dinner on Thursday 13 October 2016. The full-time employee then proceeded to badmouth their boss, as well as make demeaning comments about his wife’s weight and appearance.
The conversation continued, with the employee describing how their boss had allegedly cheated on his previous partner and claims that another employee was a racist.
When the employees realised that they had accidently recorded their conversation, the full-time employee sent an email to the Council’s IT officer requesting that the recording be deleted. However, the following Monday she was presented with the most damning comments as a transcript.
The full-time employee chose to resign shortly after the incident, with the casual employee being terminated by telephone on 20 October 2016.
Union representatives are in an outrage over what they are calling “an unprecedented breach in relation to workplace surveillance”.
United Service Union acting metropolitan manager, Sandie Morthern, said “It’s inconceivable that an employer would knowingly breach the Workplace Surveillance Act and totally disregard the rights of workers.”
Employers and employees alike must be aware of their rights and responsibilities if surveillance is to be carried out while the employee is at work for the employer. As workplace surveillance can be a tricky subject, we recommend you seek specialist advice if you have any questions.
In addition, although an employee may have behaved badly and you may be tempted to end their employment, you should warn your employee in writing at least once before ending their employment. Instant dismissals should only apply in cases of serious misconduct or repeated offences. Employsure will advise you on managing repeated misconduct and procedural fairness when terminating an employee.
As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, Employsure is here to help. Call us today on 1300 651 415.
Sourced from Yahoo! News