It’s moments like these you probably shouldn’t eat 80 Minties: CSIRO employee fails in ‘lollygate’ unfair dismissal claim

Jack Hoffman has failed in his unfair dismissal claim against the CSIRO but will pursue a claim through Commonwealth workplace health agency Comcare after allegedly breaking a tooth after eating 80 Minties lollies in a meeting.

Hoffman worked for the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex and launched a compensation claim in March after eating the Minties which were supplied in meeting rooms by his employer.

CSIRO then banned the Minties and, according to a report in Fairfax, Hoffman says this generated a fierce backlash from CSIRO colleagues who referred to the incident as “lolly-gate”.

This led to Hoffman launching the claim against Comcare for psychological issues in the workplace, claiming he has been bullied, victimised and harassed.

The new claim comes after the Fair Work Commission found against Hoffman in an application for unfair dismissal which was decided last month.

Hoffman argued even though he resigned from the CSIRO in July 2012 it was unfair dismissal, as he was forced to resign as he suffered from a medical illness.

He claimed the CSIRO actually sacked him for stopping to buy a Big Mac in a work car, while the CSIRO argued Hoffman freely resigned his position whilst awaiting the outcome of an investigation into allegations of misconduct that had been made against him in late May 2012.

But Hoffman’s claim was dismissed on the basis of being 119 days late and the Fair Work Commission found there were no exceptional circumstances to allow the late filing.

Commissioner Deegan found Hoffman may have been incapable of making an application for unfair dismissal in the week immediately following his resignation but, after that, he was already preparing to apply for jobs he had found online, was thinking rationally and had access to his computer and the internet.

“In addition to this, in an email of 16 October [Hoffman] states that he had made some 400 job applications since his employment was terminated,” Deegan found.

“I cannot accept, in such circumstances, [Hoffman’s] claim that his mental health was such that he was unable to pursue an application for unfair dismissal in the same period.”

Hoffman’s application with Comcare continues.

SmartCompany contacted Comcare and the CSIRO and both declined to comment.



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