The Fair Work Commission has upheld the sacking of a long-term Coles employee who racially abused a co-worker and posted abusive and vulgar snapchats about his manager.
Coles sacked Ridwan Ridwan by letter last August for a series of foul-mouthed and aggressive tirades in the workplace.
Ridwan had worked at Coles for 21 years.
His bad behaviour included calling an Indian-origin co-worker a racial slur and, in another incident, yelling to colleagues: “Shut up and just do your job. I’m the boss. I’m in charge.”
Coles investigated Ridwan’s conduct and gave him a first and final warning, along with a suspension.
However, two weeks later Ridwan uploaded an abusive and derogatory Snapchat posting aimed at his manager who had got him suspended.
In considering termination, Coles took into consideration Ridwan’s diagnosis as suffering from bipolar disorder. It looked at his medical reports and concluded there was nothing therein suggesting the worker couldn’t be held accountable and responsible for his action.
It proceeded to terminate Ridwan.
Ridwan went on to send a string of threatening and abusive texts to his manager post-dismissal.
Ridwan also attended the Coles store at Glenferrie Road, Glenferrie, Victoria and had to be removed by Police.
Abuse ‘undeserved and unacceptable’
Deputy President Ian Masson said Ridwan’s conduct towards fellow team members was “crude, offensive, derogatory and inappropriate”.
DP Masson rejected Ridwan’s explanation that his Snapchat account had been hacked as “utterly unconvincing”.
The “stream of abuse and invective” directed at his manager was “undeserved and utterly unacceptable”, the DP said.
On Ridwan’s bipolar condition, DP Masson said “there is nothing in the medical information nor was there any evidence provided that went to the Applicant not being in a condition to be aware of his behaviour”.
DP Masson dismissed the case.
(Ridwan Ridwan v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, FWC 943, 13/2/2018)