Legal

Compensation awarded to employee sacked by phone after 40 years’ service

Cara Waters /

An employee of the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) has been awarded compensation by Fair Work Australia after being sacked over the telephone after 40 years’ service.

Charles Borg was the long-serving kennel supervisor at Sydney’s Wentworth Park and on his 80th birthday last year a race was named in his honour.

However, the association’s executives wanted to put in place a succession plan and Borg was told he would have to mentor his new boss before stepping down from his post.

The new arrangement led to an argument at the track one night and Borg then phoned the association and was sacked over the phone a few days later.

Deputy President Sams of Fair Work Australia found there were a number of obvious and serious criticisms of GBOTA’s handling of Borg’s dismissal and awarded Borg 16 weeks’ pay in compensation.

“While I recognise [Borg] initiated the call, dismissing an employee, particularly someone of such long standing, by telephone, was insensitive and inappropriate,” he found.

“I strongly caution employers against this means of communicating a dismissal to an employee.”

Brenton Scott, executive officer of NSW GBOTA, told SmartCompany FWA’s decision supported the its right to replace Borg as kennel supervisor, given his “physical limitations and the increasing demands of the position”, and says the association sought to “carefully and sensitively manage” Borg’s transition.

“Mr Borg’s only obligations were to cooperate with the requirements of his new position and the reasonable instructions of the new supervisor,” he says.

“Despite this, Mr Borg’s attitude, the decision states, was undermining, untenable and could not be allowed to continue.”

“We moved to termination only after being extremely tolerant and fair, but their came a point where all of our patience was exhausted and we are somewhat surprised that great emphasis was not granted to this compounding reality in the ultimate finding.”

 

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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