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Bar Attendant Who ‘resigned’ Claims She Was Unfairly Dismissed

Bar attendant who ‘resigned’ claims she was unfairly dismissed

A bar attendant says she was forced to resign from her job because she was being bullied by her duty managers.

She therefore claims she was constructively dismissed, The Courier Mail reports.

The Fair Work Commission didn’t agree however, ultimately rejecting her unfair dismissal claim.

Joke incident

Sidney Riley started working at the Torquay Hotel at Hervey Bay in Queensland in May 2021.

In August 2022, she said she made a joke about a duty manager’s dark mood.

The manager subsequently “got up in her face” yelling at her and making her feel scared.

Ms Riley said she later apologised, but the manager then threatened to cut her shifts and fire her if she did it again.

Exterior of hotel and function venue

The Fair Work Commission rejected the worker’s constructive dismissal claim.

Fridge incident

Then in September 2022, another duty manager directed Ms Riley to fill a fridge.

After later checking the fridge, the manager called Ms Riley’s work “pathetic”, asking “you call that full?”

He told Ms Riley to do it again and fill it properly this time.

This required her to fill the fridge with partially used six packs, contrary to how she was trained.

Bistro incident

A couple of weeks before she resigned, Ms Riley claims that that same manager swore at her and abused her for ordering food from the bistro.

Ms Riley said it was common practice for staff members to order dinner as takeaway to take home after their shift.

Bistro staff had accidently served the food on a plate, prompting the manager to yell at Ms Riley: “you cannot get f—— food on your shift”.

Ms Riley tried to explain that she was attempting to get takeaway, however the manager wasn’t interested telling her: “well never f—— do this again”.

Close up of beer being poured

The worker claimed two duty managers bullied her.

Cutlery incident

Finally, on 3 December 2022, the first duty manager approached Ms Riley with a tray of cutlery.

He asked her to roll the cutlery with napkins.

She told the manager she was busy filling fridges and asked why the bistro staff couldn’t roll the cutlery.

The manager left with the tray.

The second manager returned a short time later aggressively telling Ms Riley to roll the cutlery.

He later returned and told her she was rolling the cutlery the way, despite rolling it the same way it was always done.

He then told Ms Riley her work ethic was pathetic and useless.

Ms Riley then walked out of her shift, proclaiming, “I’m sorry for my language but (the manager) is being a c—”.

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Constructive dismissal

Following a meeting with management two days later, Ms Riley wrote her resignation letter.

She later filed a claim for unfair dismissal in the Fair Work Commission arguing she had been constructively dismissed.

A constructive dismissal happens when an employer deliberately makes life so difficult for an employee, that they feel they have no other option but to resign.

Exterior of Fair Work CommissionLEARN MORE

Read Deputy President Lake’s full decision here

Bar attendant claims she was unfairly dismissed

In the end, Deputy President Nicholas Lake dismissed Ms Riley’s application.

He found her witnesses failed to provide evidence to support the claims of bullying to the extent where she was compelled to resign.

“The applicant and her witnesses did attest that [first duty manager] and [second duty manager] did, on occasion, raise their voices, swear at the applicant, and disparage her work ethic,” he said.

“These actions are not so significant that it could persuade or otherwise convince the applicant to resign.

“The applicant may have been justifiably irate and disgruntled by the way the duty managers interacted with the applicant.

“However, these actions were not meant to force her resignation.”

Deputy President Lake did not accept that the only option available to Ms Riley was to resign.

“Ms Riley was not forced to resign because of conduct, or a course of conduct engaged in by the respondent.”

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