Worker slept in office ceiling

A man accused of going to great lengths to avoid doing work - including carving out a sleeping space in his office ceiling - has won his case for unjustified dismissal.

Francis Hudson, a former employee of Japanese Spares Limited (JSL), took his case to the Employment Relations Authority after being fired by the company last in January last year.

He claimed he had a personal grievance and was unjustifiably dismissed after working as a delivery person and storeman for JSL.

This was rejected by the company, which provided evidence to the Authority that Mr Hudson had devised sly methods of getting out of work.

His former manager, Mr Shameem Khan, told the Authority that during Mr Hudson's 19 months with the company, he had caught him sleeping during working hours in a space carved through the ceiling of the third floor of their building on numerous occasions.

The use of the space was a safety hazard as the ceiling had collapsed inwards and the structural integrity of the cross-beams had been compromised, Mr Khan said.

JSL also told the Authority a construction company had provided a quote of more than $37,000 for fixing the carved-out ceiling space - however it was unclear whether all the damage had been caused by Mr Hudson.

Mr Khan said that in addition to using the ceiling space for napping, Mr Hudson also hid in the building during work hours, slept in car parks when he was supposed to be delivering parts, refused to follow management instructions and drove the forklift despite being unlicensed, causing damage to parts.

Despite this, JSL was ordered to pay Mr Hudson $1795.34 in lost wages and compensation.

Authority member Kenneth Anderson said in his decision that Mr Hudson's dismissal had been "procedurally and possible susbtantively unjustified" as JSL had never informed him of their concerns or given meaningful indication his employment was at risk.

However, Mr Anderson noted the actions of Mr Hudson had contributed to his dismissal, and reduced the amount JSL was required to to pay in compensation from $2000 to $1000.

"Mr Hudson has been shown to be a person that was difficult to keep on the job and he was in the habit of hiding away, quite regularly it seems to avoid having to carry out some of the duties he was employed for."

Mr Anderson also dismissed a claim of $8000 in compensation from Mr Hudson.

 

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