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Damien O’Keefe, a technician at Australian retail group The Good Guys was dismissed for complaining about his company on Facebook.
The complaints were somewhat inflammatory, saying things like:
“Damien O’Keefe wonders how the f— work can be so f—ing useless and mess up my pay again,”
“C—s are going down tomorrow.”
The crux of the issue stemmed from his revolving pay issues. O’Keefe said his commission, which was due to him five weeks prior to the post, remained unpaid. Back payments to his commission were made and the issue was resolved. Shortly afterwards, though, the company once again neglected to pay his commission.
Following his firing, O’Keefe claimed for unfair dismissal through Fair Work Australia (FWA), saying that his comments were not posted on a work computer, but after hours on his day off, and at home. He further stated that the post was directly aimed at the pay manager of the store, but that the comments were not intended for her viewing. His privacy settings were set to maximum, restricting all but a few fellow employees from viewing his feed.
Of his 70 Facebook friends, 11 were employed by The Good Guys. The message, therefore, quickly spread to upper management. The company said that this was a serious breach of company employee regulations.
O’Keefe argument was that his firing was unjust and unreasonable but Fair Work Australia has upheld the company’s judgement, stating that “the manner in which he dealt with his pay frustrations warranted his dismissal for misconduct”.
The written decision stated that “Mr Williams (store manager) was firstly responding to the fact that one employee had called a female employee a ‘c—‘ and that he had done so publicly on his Facebook page where other employees could see what was written.”
FWA said “The fact that the comments were made on the applicant’s home computer, out of work hours, does not make any difference.” O’Keefe was employed for over a year at The Good Guys, part of a chain store of consumer electronics.