WA Employment Law - Employer's Right to Interfere During Work Break?

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Tony Peppers

Member
11 September 2017
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Employed at a company for 2 years as a truck driver. No past issues of any kind. I took the opportunity whilst on break to seek some information from an Anglican church (I am Anglican) I was driving past where I had a quick conversation(4-5 minutes) seeking contact information for someone in authority I could talk to about something that was bothering me.

The lady in question apparently rang my work later that afternoon as I was in uniform and complained/lied about my manner and after a short investigation by my employer, I was issued with a first and final warning despite me telling them her accusations were completely false. Included in the written warning was a set of infantile restrictions stating that I was,under no circumstances,to deviate from the most direct route required to carry out my work duties i.e. not allowed to turn off to use nearby toilet facilities,buy lunch or in fact prohibit me from traveling 2 kms down the road to have my break at my house which I have been doing pretty much every day(with their knowledge) since I commenced employment with this company.

So what I want to know is:

1. Does one's employer legally have any right under employment law to interfere/discipline me over a matter that occurred during a work break ?

2. Can I have the written warning removed from my work file?
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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You may have a defamation case against the lady if she told lies that have affected your employment.

1. Yes, but this is not an unfettered right. Denying you access to a toilet is ridiculous. If game you can suggest your employer that not being able to take toilet breaks leads to health issues such as urinary tract infections and is a breach of an employer's duty of care.

2. Potentially yes. Again if game you can suggest that having such a warning on file that jeopardises your health is not a good look. Though you might be better off letting the warning stay on file. And keep your copy.

Up to you as to what you do.
 

Clancy

Well-Known Member
6 April 2016
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Apparently employers have the right to monitor and sanction you for your own Facebook page in your own home, so what chance have you got on a work break! hahahaha
 
13 October 2017
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Generally an employer should not interfere with an employees break due to ethical and moral standards. However even though your on break and not working during that time, you are still classified as an employee that must adhere to any rules setout by the employer in relation to breaks (you should check your relevant award to find out more about your entitlements).

You can make a request to your employer to have the written warning removed from your file, however it is completely up to the employer to make the decision and no legislation or award can require an employer to remove a written warning if it is valid and warranted. If it is not valid and warranted you can lodge a dispute with your relevant union or the Fair Work Ombudsman.