Did the penalty fit the crime?….
Following his termination, a manager has failed in his bid to argue that, among other purchases, 14 massages were a “reasonable business expense”.
Over the past year, the engineer had purchased 14 massages, a blender, an Australia Day t-shirt, singlet and two boxer shorts, a pair of gym shoes and shorts, a three metre extension lead, a backpack, a duffle bag, two bathmats, a cooler bag, vitamins and a heater using his business credit card.
Following an investigation, the company dismissed the engineer finding his purchases were inconsistent with its travel expense policy which allowed employees to claim reimbursement for “any reasonable, necessary and duly documented expenses”.
The Fair Work Commission said the summary dismissal of its engineer for serious misconduct was justified because he had repeatedly misrepresented his “unorthodox expenditures” as business related travel expenses. FWC stated they were unable to “conceive of how a reasonable person could believe that purchase of clothing because an employee forgot to pack certain items for travel, or purchase of a heater or a bath mat when staying in a high quality hotel or apartment could be a reasonable business expense.