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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Byron Kaye

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?