The man and other employees re-enacted their version of the
Harlem Shake at Fonterra's Takanini plant. Image / YouTube
A man fired from Fonterra for performing a version of the
dance craze Harlem Shake at the dairy giant's Takanini plant
has been permanently reinstated in his job.
Craig Flynn, a filling machine operator was dismissed last
March after Fonterra discovered two videos uploaded to
It showed Mr Flynn and six employees re-enacting the dance.
He appealed against the company's decision to the Employment
Relations Authority (ERA), and in June it ordered his
temporary interim reinstatement pending a substantive
Fonterra had submitted Mr Flynn put himself and others at
risk of harm by organising the videos, "dancing with a shovel
between his legs, hosing water where another employee was
dancing and splashing a pallet endangering himself and
Fonterra argued that the men's conduct breached the company's
code of conduct and health and safety policies, and
constituted serious misconduct.
The ERA disagreed.
"Concerns were raised about increased risks of slipping due
to cream or milk product on the floor, misuse of the hose
creating risk employees may be splashed with chemicals from
the footbath, contamination of packaging and not wearing
earmuffs risking hearing loss."
But the authority said there was no evidence on the video of
milk or cream product on the floor, splashing of chemicals
and contamination of packaging. No other evidence was
produced to justify these concerns.
Authority member Tania Tetitaha also found the plant manager
who dismissed Mr Flynn, Craig Rooks, did not consider
She declined to award Mr Flynn any compensation because his
actions contributed to the situation.