Worker sacked for sharing anti-vax view wins $10k payout

Photo: Getty Images
A retail worker in Milton won a payout after she was unfairly dismissed due to her vaccination beliefs. Photo: Getty Images
A Milton retail worker sacked for voicing her anti-vax views to a customer has won a payout from her former employer.

Sandra Mulqueen was fired from The Merino Story (TMS) clothing store in Milton in October, 2021, following a seven-and-a-half year stint as a retail salesperson.

The dismissal occurred following a complaint from a customer saying Ms Mulqueen had been "ramming anti-vaccine info" at them during a visit to the shop the previous month.

Following the dismissal, Ms Mulqueen went to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to seek compensation from her former employer, arguing she had been unjustifiably dismissed.

The ERA released its decision last week, awarding Ms Mulqueen lost remuneration of $8018.65, and compensation of $10,800.

In its decision, the authority said TMS had not followed a fair and reasonable process before dismissing Mulqueen.

“Together with Ms Mulqueen’s clean disciplinary record, explanations, and all the circumstances, I struggle to see how an isolated incident such as the one for which Ms Mulqueen was dismissed, could reasonably justify a conclusion of serious misconduct warranting summary dismissal.”

Ms Mulqueen had sought $25,000 in compensation, citing the significance of losing her job in such a "disgraceful" way in a small community.