Cafe worker sacked for not using smiley emoji

Cafe worker sacked for not using smiley emoji

A worker at a Queensland coffee franchise was unfairly sacked after her boss blasted her for not using smiley face emojis in a text message over rosters,” the AFR reports.

Sens Catering Group, which operates Sens Coffee, fired its Gold Coast cafe supervisor over messages to her general manager about needing more workers on weekends in response to the business pulling her staff for its new restaurant venture.

Kristen Gordon has now won an unfair dismissal case in the Fair Work Commission against her former employer Sens Catering Group, which has been ordered to pay her compensation.

Gordon was employed casually at the company’s Sens cafe in Southport as a supervisor when Phoebe Wang started as manager in late 2021.

Conflict arose between her and Wang when Gordon complained that Sens was understaffed because staff had been pulled from the cafe to work at the company’s other business, Goya restaurant in Broadbeach, which was also overseen by Wang.

Gordon told the commission she raised these issues in a group chat with managers.

She also said “respectfully” disagreed with some of Wang’s other “orders”, but the superior replied, “go to Fair Work with (former manager) Monique if you want, we don’t care”.

The issues came to a head when Gordon needed to take days off work and move to reduced duties, including being unable to lift full milk crates, as she was going through IVF treatment.

Gordon claimed she “was forced to explain this whole part of her personal life to Ms Wang because the question was raised whether she could be working during this,” according to the commission.

Sens’ general manager was allegedly furious that the supervisor “didn’t add any smiley faces”. According to uncontested evidence from a co-worker, when the GM received the text she got so angry she smashed her phone on the counter and jumped up and down while screaming at the cafe manager to “fire her right now!”

Fair Work Commissioner Chris Simpson agreed with Gordon that she was “merely trying to express a view as to what would be in the best interests of the business in regard to staffing”.

“I am not satisfied that the respondent had a valid reason for dismissal based on the applicant’s conduct or performance,” Simpson said in his decision handed down this week.

“I was satisfied that the application was dismissed and that the dismissal of Ms Gordon was harsh, unjust or unreasonable and an order for compensation should be made.”

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