An office worker sacked for talking too much to her colleagues has lost her unfair dismissal claim.
The woman, known as “Tracey Trap” to her co-workers, claimed management subjected her to an unfair disciplinary process.
Office worker sacked for talking too much
Tracey Bodman worked as a general administrator for AA-Wargames since May 2017.
The company, based in Wiltshire in the UK, sells toys and games on eBay.
She resigned following a warning from her bosses about her slow performance.
Bodman’s co-workers complained that she would chat to them for up to half an hour, preventing them from doing their work.
They also said they felt unable to end conversations with Bodman, earning her the nickname, “Tracey Trap”.
Meanwhile, management alleged Bodman’s own pace of work became unacceptably slow.
She had been sending four or five emails an hour, instead of the expected 15 to 20 messages.
As a result, her bosses called her to a disciplinary hearing, after which she resigned.
Forced out of job
Bodman argued in an employment tribunal that she had been unfairly dismissed because the disciplinary process had been unfair.
She claimed management effectively forced her out of her job.
She alleged she hadn’t been trained properly, and that management banned her from using her phone unlike others, in addition to stopping her from speaking with co-workers.
However, employment judge Hazel Oliver rejected her claims.
Judge Oliver found management issued the warning for her performance and dismissed her complaints about the disciplinary process.
“I do not find that Ms Bodman was prevented from speaking with her colleagues, or singled out while others were allowed to chat.
“It appears from the disciplinary meeting minutes that Ms Bodman was not being disciplined for failing to deal with queries she had not been trained on.
“She was being disciplined for lack of productivity, where she was sending 4 or 5 emails an hour instead of 15 to 20.
“These findings mean that the claim for unfair constructive dismissal fails and is dismissed.”
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says in Australia, workers can be sacked for “time theft”.
“Workers who are paid to work for a certain number of hours, must work during those hours,” he said.
“Otherwise it can be considered time theft, and the Fair Work Commission has made it very clear that time theft is unacceptable and a valid reason for dismissal.”
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