A LABOURER sacked for running over and killing his boss’s pet cockatoo has won an unfair dismissal payment that could be worth up to £13,000.
Blake O’Keeffe was moving a truck at Gregg Dunshea’s fencing business site in Bundaberg, Austrália, when he squashed Crackers under the wheels.
Towards the end of a working day, Blake was told to reverse the vehicle and drive it into another shed, a tribunal heard.
He spotted Crackers the galah – a species of cockatoo – sitting on the ground and tried to use an aluminium mop and then a wooden broom to move him along.
The tribunal heard: “He did not want to pick him up because when he had tried to do so previously, Crackers would bite him.
“He figured that Crackers had a wooden perch in his cage and so may be more amenable to hopping on the broom.”
But Crackers dashed under another truck parked nearby and, after failed attempts to coax him out, Blake hopped back in the truck and manoeuvred it.
Afterwards he found Crackers squashed on the ground.
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His boss Gregg initially told the young employee not to worry about it, de acordo com relatórios.
But after viewing CCTV he realised Blake had been aware Crackers was loose in the yard.
The boss argued he had specifically warned his workers not to reverse out while Crackers was about – but Blake denied there was a set rule.
The tribunal found he should have got a written warning, not the sack.
Deputy president Nicholas Lake said: “While I have sympathy for Mr Dunshea and his family who obviously cared deeply for this bird, the Applicant’s conduct was not malicious or deliberate.
“It did not constitute valid reason for his dismissal. At its highest the actions of the young Applicant may have warranted a written warning, but no more.”
Gregg could be forced to pay up to 26 weeks in lost wages, amounting to £13,000.
He said he is the “one at loss” and is considering an appeal, relatórios Daily Mail Australia.
Ele se irritou: “That’s more money that I don’t have and have to come up with just because someone is not willing to take responsibility for themselves.
“This person only lost his job, he can get another job.
“I’m the one at the loss. I’m the employer and personally I’ve lost something that can’t be fixed.
“He didn’t break a tool, he didn’t cut something at the wrong length, he’s destroyed an animal.
“What kind of warning can I give?”