Fair Work Australia slaps down management who tried to leave worker in the cold
Apr 12, 2012
McCain Foods factory in Ballarat, where Ms Thomas works.
A Victorian food production worker who was stood down for 18 days, proved management had no grounds to discipline her in Fair Work on Wednesday.
Rhonda Thomas, who has worked for more than 13 years with an unblemished attendance record at McCain Foods Ballarat, was accused of taking too long on her breaks.
Ms Thomas argued the break calculations made by the McCain’s management were incorrect. In particular that the company had failed to take into account Ms Thomas working in a cold room and her entitlement to pause breaks due to the associated health risks.
FairWork Australia agreed and found McCain’s treatment of Ms Thomas was in breach of its workplace agreement, particularly the terms of its disciplinary procedure.
AMWU Food Division Organiser Angela McCarthy said the findings were a great result for both Ms Thomas and members at McCain Foods.
“We’re delighted for Rhonda, she knew her rights and we were able to demonstrate the company was wrong in their calculations. It shows that workers must be vigilant against incorrect practices by their management.
“The disciplinary action against Rhonda was unfair and excessive and even Fair Work Australia has pointed out that management at McCain failed to follow its own procedure.”
Ms McCarthy said the incident had embarrassed the company, who rather than correct their original action, used it as leverage to try and persuade the AMWU to change the pause break arrangement.
“This is a reminder to McCain and other employers that they need to be very careful about their record keeping and how they go about disciplining workers.”
Contact Email: news(at)amwu.asn.au