This is real news story I read recently. Not Fake News. Although I did think it was an April Fool’s gag. You’ll see why.
A company was recently forced by the Fair Work Commission to rehire a woman they fired for breaching their Code of Conduct. How did she do this? She got drunk and vomited at an after-work function.
AND in relation to the vomit – she contested the amount of wine that she threw up, claiming it was only a “small amount of regurgitated wine”. Who hasn’t? I saw far worse behaviour from Flouncy (whom I wrote about previously in What Not to Do When You’re a Woman over 35 on the Piss).
I think this is a storm in a wine glass.
Can you imagine if companies had to fire everyone who did this? There would be what? A total national workforce of 427 people! (That’s the total combined number of tea-totallers in Australia*).
How farking ridiculous. I know people (men) who have been PROMOTED after getting on the piss at after-work functions with senior management. In fact, it was actually HOW they scaled the Corporate ladder.
But of course, it’s a complete double standard for us Ladies. Have you ever gotten pissed at an after-work function? NOT a work function – an AFTER-work function?
Sorry – that’s a truly stupid question.
I was recently in Melbourne for work and led a rouge group out on the town where we got madly on the gas. It was an excellent night. The leaders of course we were all on did discourage us going out as the course we were doing was very intense and there was a lot of homework to complete at the end of each day, but as 1) I’m an adult and decide for myself what I do and 2) the course WAS really intense so I really needed to blow off some steam I said “I could murder a drink! I’m going to pub – who’s coming?” and I was joined by another 8-9 scallywags and we played up significantly.
Did anyone get sacked? No. But there wasn’t any public vomiting.
This woman in question also told the Fair Work Commission that it was the drunkest she’d ever been in her life. It wasn’t something she made a habit of and she’s was very remorseful. Her former employee also said she allegedly sexually propositioned someone else at the event and insulted someone there.
She’s had a shocker. No question but what does this say about us really? Someone had way too much to drink (we’ve all been there) after work and carried on like a tit. It happens. All the time. Every day somewhere in the world. It’s probably happening right now. I know plenty of people who call that woman’s behaviour a standard Friday night out.
Yes, I concede the vomiting was gross but I threw up on the Tube once when I was sober (but sick as a dog). And who could forget my eight-hour trip from Reunion Island to Paris next to a lady who threw up for the entire time – covering me in vomit shrapnel? Again, disgusting but it happens. We aren’t robots – we all have bodily functions.
I worry that we are starting to police everything in a way that’s unhealthy. If work is allowed to sack you on the basis of your behaviour outside of work then where does it stop? And remember, we aren’t talking about anything illegal, which is for many places of employ, a sackable offence. The Fair Work commissioner even said sacking the woman was “harsh, unreasonable and unjust”.
I think some lessons are best learned the hard way but when we have work dictating to us how we behave when we are not at work based on one instance of drunkenness, we’re in real trouble.
The shitty PS to this story is the company who was forced to reemploy her are appealing the finding and lawyers advise this case has sparked complicated questions over behaviour at work-related functions.
Scary. Cause that’s what we all need – more large companies and organisations telling us how to live our lives.
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.
Alex’s voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.