Man drinks 10 beers, tells boss to 'f--- off', wins claim for unfair dismissal

It’s a licence to behave badly at office parties – and keep your job. The bad news for Australians is that such parties are likely to become sober affairs.

An employment tribunal has ruled that a man who sexually harassed female colleagues and told his bosses to “f--k off” at a Christmas function was unfairly dismissed, in part because unlimited quantities of alcohol were served.

The employee has not been named, but he was a team leader with a road building company.

According to Fairfax Media, he was sacked when he returned to work in January. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruled, however, that employers cannot insist on standards of conduct being maintained at parties if the alcohol flows freely.

In my view, it is contradictory and self-defeating for an employer to require compliance with its usual standards of behaviour at a function but at the same time to allow the unlimited service of free alcohol at the function.

If alcohol is supplied in such a manner, it becomes entirely predictable that some individuals will consume an excessive amount and behave inappropriately.

  • Adam Hatcher, FWC vice-president
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