Despatcher of dirty e-mails gets his come-uppance

Good to see an employer successfully appeal another daft decision in a sacked employee’s favour from the Employment Relations Authority.

This time, says the NZ Herald, the ERA had ruled in favour of a Philip Walker who successfully argued that the dirty emails he sent were part of a wider workplace culture.

So just how much filth can a bloke send in company time, according to the ERA?

Walker had been sacked from his job as a purchasing officer after sending 425 non-work-related emails to colleagues and family members between March and September last year.

Safe Air claimed that 26 of these were “emails of concern” containing explicit depictions of lewdness, nudity and/or sex acts. The ERA found in Mr Walker’s favour and he was awarded $1000 for “a loss of dignity and injury to his feelings” and his employer was forced to reinstate him.

But Safe Air – a Blenheim firm – took the case to the Employment Court in Christchurch.

And, thank goodness for common sense as well as work-place justice, the bosses won this time.

Judge Tony Couch found the dismissal of Mr Walker to be what a “fair and reasonable” employer would have done in all the circumstances at the time. The dismissal was declared “justifiable” and Mr Walker’s personal grievance was not sustained.

Judge Couch found Walker’s emails demonstrated “serious misconduct” and that he had been aware it was against company policy to send them.

He also found that Walker had sent many more emails than the others who had been involved.

Alf can’t see there could be any other possible outcome. Yet the bloody ERA had seen things differently, and not for the first time.

Must have a chat with our Minister of Labour and see if we can’t sack every bugger on the authority, then start from scratch with a new bunch of appointments.

Even better, let’s get rid of the Employment Court and let workers like Philip Walker take their chances in the normal court system.

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