Carter Holt learns to its cost how to deal with a worker who used the “f” word, but only in fun

It's easy for a hermaphrodite to take the aggrieved worker's advice...

Hermaphrodites are better equipped than bosses to take the aggrieved worker’s advice…

It’s cheering to learn that something Alf is apt to say when appropriately infuriated isn’t as disagreeable as he supposed.

Telling someone to go fuck yourself, to the contrary, can be a nice little earner, depending on how the recipient of the advice reacts.

We learn this from a Herald report of a ruling by the Employment Relations Authority, a remarkable outfit with the skill to recognise the fun side of a bit of verbal howz-yer-father in the workplace.

A forklift operator who told his boss to go f*** himself has been awarded a further $7400 after earlier receiving $5600 for unfair dismissal.

The bloke who is thus being compensated for what happened when he used the “f” word is one Ian Gabites who worked at Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products in Richmond, near Nelson.

On 26 November last year, his  acting supervisor apparently asked if  he’d finished a job he was asked to do.

This sounds like a fair enough question for a supervisor, acting or otherwise, to ask but…

Mr Gabites responded with: “Go f*** yourself,” according to an Employment Relations Authority decision.

Two disciplinary meetings followed. Mr Gabites was sacked on December 6 for using “threatening language” towards the supervisor.

Mr Gabites said he was unjustifiably fired and the language used was “meant in fun”.

It all comes down to the process, presumably, because process is important when you go about firing someone for something they said in fun.

But Carter Holt slipped up.

In May, it transpires, the Employment Relations Authority said the supervisor had mentioned nothing in a written complaint about the language being threatening.

Oh dear.

The authority said a fair and reasonable employer should have given Mr Gabites a written warning, to make it clear saying “go f*** yourself” was unacceptable and would result in serious consequences if used again.

At that time it awarded Gabites $5600 for humiliation, loss of dignity, and hurt feelings.

People who tell their bosses to go and fuck themselves are obviously prone to being highly sensitive and easily upset.

Authority member Helen Doyle said Gabites also deserved three months’ lost wages.

But the authority didn’t have enough evidence in May to decide what this amounted to.

Doyle advised both parties to figure this out.

The parties were unsuccessful in doing so but in a new decision, Ms Doyle ordered Carter Holt to pay Mr Gabites $4387.54.

Mind you, this does not necessarily mean Doyle approved of the remark that was said in fun.

She said the forklift operator would have been awarded more but his payout was cut by 20 per cent because  he “did not need to and should not have said what he did.”

Gabites was not immediately available for comment, the Herald says, and his lawyer said he would need his client’s permission before commenting.

That’s a shame.

Gabites perhaps would have told the Herald what to do with their reproductive equipment. Alf imagines – or he would like to think – this advice would be akin to something he would quite like to tell them on occasion.

All in great fun, of course.


2 Responses to Carter Holt learns to its cost how to deal with a worker who used the “f” word, but only in fun

  1. Stephen says:

    Apparently being disrespectful to your boss is no longer grounds for sending you down the road.
    These rulings are getting worse and seems since the election the socialists that run these outfits are keen on exacting revenge on employers.
    Still if the Nats had any gumption they would abolish the ERA and let nature prevail.
    But they don’t. As we well know.

  2. Angry Tory says:

    What’s the point of National government if they can’t change the law so that people like this guy can be peremptorily fired — and ideally changed penalties for the costs they imposed on the business?

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