In one of the odder firings in recent memory, an office cleaner in Sydney, Australia was dismissed because he made himself a cup of coffee upon arriving at work 45 minutes early. He had been told by staff that he could have a cup upon requesting whether he could.
The employee, who was an international student working part-time, experienced this incident in January at Glad Group, his former employer. A manager at Glad saw the employee and his coworker drinking the coffee, at which point she approached them and said, “You are not allowed to make coffee.”
The cleaner apologized, but the manager still filed a complaint. Two days later, both employees were dismissed from Glad Group for engaging in serious misconduct.
The vice president of Australia’s Fair Work Commission went on record to say that he thought the dismissal was unfair. He also opined that classifying any of his behavior as theft was a stretch, particularly considering the dearth of a past history or other issues involving the employee.
Hatcher would ultimately form a legal basis for the Commission awarding the victim $9,187.20 in damages, which would make up for lost wages related to his dismissal. He has also been given the ability to get his prior position back.
Many believe that this case will highlight exploitation and unfair working conditions in Australia, particularly for those who are not native or in a position of power.