Queensland, Australia Fair Work Commission: Rifle in Parking Lot Not Cause for Dismissal

(courtesy ausrealnews.com.au)

“In July 2015, a friend of the applicant attended the car park of the applicant’s workplace with the intention of discussing a rifle part with him,” sunshinecoastdaily.com.au reports. “Critically, the applicant used his security pass to give his friend access to the car park. Whilst there, the friend revealed she had brought her high powered rifle with her in the car. A member of the public witnessed the applicant and his friend with the rifle in the car park and reported the event to the police . . .

The police attended the car park and found the applicant and his friend with the unarmed rifle.

Although his friend was charged with an ammunition related offence, the police did not charge the applicant.

Following the incident, the applicant was stood down pending an investigation.

The company employing the unnamed admirer of the “high powered” rifle fired him. He appealed the decision to Queensland’s Fair Work Commission. The Commission ruled that he’d been wronged, as follows.

The employer’s fundamental reason to dismiss the applicant was the alleged misconduct of the applicant which involved him either, permitting (his friend) to enter the car park in the knowledge that she had the firearm in her car, or alternatively, allowing her entry to the car park without knowledge of the firearm, but then subsequently not acting with reasonable and timely concern for the circumstances. Neither of these formulations of the alleged misconduct, when properly considered, can be held to have involved a wilful and deliberate attack upon the employment relationship, such as would be necessary to justify a dismissal without notice, as opposed to dismissal with the requisite notice.

So, if the employer hadn’t waited a month before firing the employee for “serious misconduct,” the fired worker may have received a different judgement. Still, ch-ching: $8,616 in compensation.

Several U.S. states have laws “allowing” employees to stash a gat in their vehicle when it’s on their employer’s premises. I doubt those laws would cover an incident of this type, where a third party brings a gun onto the property for discussion/ogling. Should they?

comments

  1. avatar Rad Man says:

    Why is every rifle a “high-powered” rifle these days?

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      It’s the whole, “the .45acp cartridge leaves the barrel at excess of 850 fps”. Clearly, anything moving that fast is super high powered.

    2. avatar UnPC Aussie says:

      When lever action shotguns are “new technology, practically semi automatic, high powered death machines” then you know the Australian media is channelling their inner Carolyn McCarthy when describing firearms.

  2. avatar Katy says:

    my view: it depends.

    On one hand, private property rights reign supreme. On the other, at least in TX, you can leave a firearm secured in the vehicle. I’m not sure they could claim to have been moving the gun to a secure spot in the vehicle, but who knows.

    Of course, the closest I’ve come to interacting with TX law on firearms is my LTC, so I don’t know all the vagaries.

    My bigger issue was him allowing someone else to use his badge to enter the parking lot. I’d have written him up for that, gun or not.

    1. avatar UnPC Aussie says:

      Surprisingly most companies in Oz don’t have policies on firearms on their property (most think they are entirely banned so there is no need).

      And most secure carparks are nothing more than a boomgate to prevent the public from parking in that staff area, particularly in areas with limited public parking, so unless he worked for a company with actual security needs then using his carpark pass to let a friend in would be a compete non issue and likely standard procedure when having someone visit.

      This is indicated in that the reason given for his dismissal was the involvement of the firearm not the access to the car park in and of itself.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “On one hand, private property rights reign supreme. On the other, at least in TX, you can leave a firearm secured in the vehicle.”

      From my point of view, those are the same hand. My car is my private property, no matter where it’s parked. What I keep in my car, as long as it stays in my car, is no business of an employer or anyone else.

      Laws like Texas’, specifically allowing people to keep guns in their cars, shouldn’t even be necessary. If private property rights allow employers to dictate what can and can’t be brought into their buildings, those same rights should allow me to decide what I want to keep in my personal vehicle.

      1. avatar wes says:

        Exactly. My state has no legal protection for items in a vehicle on employers property, that said concealed means concealed 😉

        1. avatar Matt in TX says:

          Where the rubber starts, it in no longer their private property, it is mine.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      you can leave a firearm secured in the vehicle

      Not possible. If you leave a firearm in a vehicle the closest correct term is “abandoned”.

      NOTHING left in a car is “secured”.

  3. avatar UnPC Aussie says:

    I think you’ve misinterpreted the article, the fair work commission stated that the behaviour of the employee didn’t meet the requirements for dismissal without notice, ie they couldn’t fire him on the basis of this one “incident” instead they would have to place him on a formal warning (notice)/ remedial plan and only fire him after subsequent issues or lack of improvement in behaviour.

    Considering his actions weren’t criminal (no restrictions on where you can take rifles at this stage) the employer didn’t have a leg to stand on in this case. Obviously the other employee who saw the rifle was a committed hoplophobe and caused enough of a stink that the company thought it worthwhile to sack the bloke to shut them up, or old mate was shit at his job and this was just an excuse to avoid going through the formal warning process.

    The ammo offence would likely be having unsecured ammo in the vehicle. Most states in Australia require ammo to be transported in a locked container. Queensland is actually fairly good with their laws (only in comparison to other bits of the country), places like Western Australia are pants-on-head retarded and consider spent ammo (including rimfire) to be live ammo and have charged people for insecure ammo (and consequently cancelled their licences and seized their firearms and gear) for having fired .22 cases in their vehicles after doing some spotlighting.

  4. avatar Specialist38 says:

    It doesn’t really matter what we think since we live in two different countries. Sad…..but doesn’t matter.

    We have enough lunacy in this country without importing some from Oz.

    G’Day…

  5. avatar Wilson says:

    Sounds to me like everyone involved was pretty dense.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    Progressive discipline is part of labor relations in most English-speaking countries. It’s actually a sensible and sound policy that sometimes results in the correct outcome.

  7. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Georgia is a “right to work/at will employment” state so an employer can fire you for nearly any reason at all. Only a law prevents an employer from terminating an employee for having firearms in a personally owned vehicle parked on company property. I have kept a get home bag in the trunk of my car and had no worries about being challenged about it.

  8. avatar Mark N. says:

    I remember when this story first broke. The employee in question is also a certified firearms instructor, and the woman was asking his advice regarding the mounting of a scope on her rifle, as I recall.

  9. avatar Robert Duchien says:

    Australia is now considering “Report & Reward” to help root out gun possession crimes. Nothing like rewarding stool pigeons to improve the apprehension of dangerous gun hoarders. Probably coming here too next summer. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Gun Control Australia and The Greens want ALL gun owner’s details to be on public record. So you can imagine the abuse this will result in. Of course it is all for the “common good”.

      The Greens have reportedly been handing out copies of the NSW FIrearms Registry database to their comrades and fellow travelers in the criminal fraternity. The deputy commissioner who authorized the copying of the database to a password protected MS-Access file on the unsecured police intranet should have been publicly dismissed. And hopefully tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

  10. avatar Wright says:

    It might be an actual high powered rifle and not high powered ghost guns with 30 caliber assault clipazines that spray 30 bullets a second.

  11. avatar Elliott says:

    This is probably the David Waters/Goodyear case. My car looks nice on Pirelli tires, yours probably will too.

    David was the only High-Power grand master level shooter, or whatever the top NRA High-Power level is called, from Australia – and he was helping a female club mate fit a bipod to her F-Class type rifle. As an aside, David in his (now plentiful) spare time turns out billet magazines for the Tikka T3 – definitely geared for higher level competition, and priced accordingly.

    Glad to hear he’s getting a break from Fair Work. I hope his friend was allowed to keep her license, I know in my case it’s the only thing that keeps me level.

    PS; Get Disqus.

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