Petrunic v Q Catering Limited T/A Q Catering  FWC 3981 (Hamberger SDP, 7 June 2019).
The applicant was dismissed after an investigation into her role in actively participating in unprotected industrial action by in attending her workplace on a rostered day off, as well as encouraging other employees to participate in unprotected industrial action by making and distributing posters.
The unprotected industrial action, and the associated blockade of staff vehicles, meant that the catering for flights due to leave from Sydney’s international and domestic terminals on the morning of 15 June 2018 were not loaded. This resulted in 50 flights and over 7,500 customers being adversely affected. In particular 12 international flights were delayed, four of them by over two hours, (with consequent disruption to flight schedules that extended into that afternoon), and three flights to New Zealand departed without catering. There were also 22 domestic flights and 13 regional flights which were delayed by up to 31 minutes and departed without catering.
The Commission was satisfied that the respondent had a valid reason to dismiss the applicant because of her conduct on 15 June 2018. The Commission also had regard to the dishonest responses the applicant gave to her employer when she was given the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against her.
The Commission was satisfied that the applicant’s dismissal was neither harsh, nor unjust nor unreasonable. Accordingly, it was not unfair. The application was dismissed.
The applicant was an active participant in the blockade of Q Catering’s premises. While she was not actually at work that day, she supported and encouraged her colleagues to engage in the stoppage. The stoppage and the associated blockade was intended to, and did, have the effect of significantly impeding the respondent’s operations that day, in support of certain employee demands. The action was not ‘protected’ by the Fair Work Act. The applicant’s conduct in this regard was fundamentally inconsistent with the obligations she owed to her employer.