Big Brother can't sack you for union email just yet

According to Martin Foley, president of the Victorian branch of the Australian Services Union (ASU), the airline company dismissed union delegate Maria Gencarelli for forwarding an angrily worded email around her department. The subject of the email was enterprise bargaining, he said.

Foley said the Federal Court in Melbourne had rejected Ansett's claims on Friday morning that Gencarelli breached company email policy, which prohibits staff from communicating any matters unrelated to work within or out of the company via email.

"She was doing her job as a union delegate," Foley said.

In fact, the judge found that "Ansett acted illegally under the provisions of the workplace relations act dealing with freedom of association", he said. He added, however, that Ansett did not break any laws from inspecting employee email because the company legally owned all text on its email network.

Foley said most companies had clearly defined email policies in place. Typically, company policy allowed "a certain amount of chitter-chatter" via email, although union activity qualified as part of a company's core business.

"The implications of this are that if you've got a union on site and a union delegate, you can use email for the purposes of distributing union material."

An Ansett spokesperson said the airline company accepted the court's decision.

The ASU will submit a legally justified suggestion to the Federal Court regarding a suitable fine for Ansett. Foley said the union had not yet finalised the amount.

Discussions on whether or not Gencarelli will return to work at Ansett have not yet been finalised.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?