An unjustified dismissal

January 15th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

An interesting case from the Employment Relations Authority. A worker was dismissed for taking part in two Harlem Shake meme videos filmed at ’s Takanini plant.

Reading the judgement I agree that dismissal way way over the top for a pretty minor infringement of the rules. The health and safety risk was minimal, and the appropriate reaction would have been a warning at most. Dismissal was an over-reaction and it is good to see an order for reinstatement.

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21 Responses to “An unjustified dismissal”

  1. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    Endless ‘Meme’ Dance crazes are so freaking lame the guy deserves to be sacked for being such a sad bastard…

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  2. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    Making a Harlem Shake video should be grounds for instant dismissal. I would like to see the legislation amended to this effect.

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  3. iMP (2,231 comments) says:

    Taking away someone’s livelihood (affecting others) is a very severe thing to do. Many people are either heartless, hard or ignorant of the impacts.

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  4. shoreboy57 (129 comments) says:

    The cream of the crop?

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  5. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Finally some sense from the Far Right.

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  6. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    People are employed to work, not play. We have most employees on production contracts so don’t have any of this stupidity. Bet the employee was a unionised loser.

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  7. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    igm – he was on his smoko break!

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  8. WineOh (541 comments) says:

    For an employer to take this kind of action usually means there have been a series of other employment issues accruing over a period of time. You don’t axe good workers for little/no reason, with the time and cost to recruit and train staff, it just doesn’t make sense. Seems like a manager had a rush of blood to the head & engaged boot before head (and the HR department).

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  9. NK (1,066 comments) says:

    Taking away someone’s livelihood (affecting others) is a very severe thing to do. Many people are either heartless, hard or ignorant of the impacts.

    Taking away someone’s liberty to love and marry who they like (affecting no one but themselves) is a very severe thing to do. Many people who oppose this are either heartless, hard or ignorant of the impacts.

    There, fixed that.

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  10. secondcumming (90 comments) says:

    Truth be known, like a lot of employee’s out there he was probaly a useless bastard anyway. His boss was no doubt looking for any excuse to show him the arse card. Unfortunately, in this day and age, as far as the ERA is concerned, everything is weighted in favour of the dickhead employee. Still, Fonterra can afford it, unlike so many of the SME’s……

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  11. Northland Wahine (647 comments) says:

    Work would certainly suck if you couldn’t have a few laughs during your break…

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  12. lilman (883 comments) says:

    Funny how they can sack a guy over a harmless prank,but the CEO and rest of the Board are responsible for a con taminate scare that costs owner more than 500 million but no one is held accountable.

    ASSES THE LOT.

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  13. wreck1080 (3,725 comments) says:

    “People are employed to work, not play.”

    I take it you’re a scrooge who laments the abolishment of workhouses.

    Yours is the type of attitude as to why unions are needed.

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  14. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Trouble is, if an accident HAD occurred while filming the video, Fonterra would certainly have been severely punished. Infractions of safety are serious for all companies and need to be. But I would have thought it a “written warning” level misdemeanor rather than a firing offence; but who knows his background.

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  15. flash2846 (164 comments) says:

    Thank you Ed Snack

    “if an accident HAD occurred while filming the video, Fonterra would certainly have been severely punished”….

    Therein lies the issue: Employers take the hit because of foolish behaviour. Perhaps the law could be changed to make all concerned financially accountable; i.e. the business, the supervisor, the employee perpetrator and of course the union involved.
    Don’t hold your breath on the last two.

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  16. MH (624 comments) says:

    J’espere zis contaminated Harlem Milk shake video was sponsered by Don Juan,n’est ce pas?

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  17. Tautaioleua (281 comments) says:

    Humour has its place in the workforce; especially with menial tasks on a factory floor for example. Even the slaves would chant, sing, and crack jokes (often at their own expense) to make the day all the more bearable.

    I’ve visited factories where laughter was as familiar as the noise from the machinery (the boss chiming in from time to time). It creates a colourful atmosphere and makes the time fly.

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  18. Reboot (82 comments) says:

    WineOh (343 comments) says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 9:48 am

    For an employer to take this kind of action usually means there have been a series of other employment issues accruing over a period of time.

    Regardless, those other employment issues should be dealt with separately or alternatively raised at the same meeting. According to paragraph 34 of the Authority’s determination:

    “There was inexplicable disparity of treatment between these employees. Three employees (Jose Lago, Metua Purea and Ryan Ruawhare) were found to have committed similar misconduct, yet retained their jobs. There was an inadequate explanation for the disparity. The Authority is not persuaded Mr Flynn’s conduct justified dismissal in the circumstances.”

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  19. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Dumb bastard Fonterra management.

    Lost the high ground again! :)

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  20. secondcumming (90 comments) says:

    YO Johnboy…yoore da’ mudda’ fukin’ man!!

    (:

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  21. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    You should never have come the first time by the look of you old chap.

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