A WOMAN involved in a dispute that led to her unfair dismissal from a Cobram aged care home has won a $7500 compensation order.
The before-tax result for Gloria Bowden was revealed in a Fair Work Commission finding this week.
In August, the commission — then known as Fair Work Australia — found Ms Bowden had been unfairly dismissed from the Ottrey Homes aged care facility.
But Ms Bowden appealed against the decision after no compensation order was made for lost wages.
It was found Ms Bowden’s dismissal was “harsh”.
Ms Bowden and another woman employee at the home had a disagreement in 2010 that made its way on to Facebook. Ms Bowden lost her job, without notice.
It was found this was unnecessary, given that Ms Bowden was working in a separate area to the other woman. “Ms Bowden’s dismissal was also harsh as she had had no previous allegations-complaints made about her conduct and the allegations related to an occurrence,” Commissioner Anna Lee Cribb said in her original finding.
That “occurrence” refers to the Facebook messages and Ms Bowden’s emailing to the woman of a document titled “workplace politics”.
“As well, (the other worker) participated equally in the Facebook exchanges and there does not appear to have been any disciplinary action taken regarding (that worker’s) ‘f... you all’ Facebook post.”
On appeal, Ms Bowden argued the commissioner made an error “in respect of the circumstances she took into account in determining a compensation remedy”.
The dispute that led to Ms Bowden’s dismissal occurred in mid-August 2010 when two staff members had a conversation with the woman later in dispute with Ms Bowden.
They talked to her about her administration of medications, although they later denied having such a discussion.
A few weeks later, Ms Bowden received a letter from Ottrey Homes’ chief executive advising of an investigation resulting from concern about “the culture, low morale and unhappy workplace at Ottrey Homes”.
The series of exchanges on Facebook between Ms Bowden and her colleague took place over three days in December, 2010.
The investigation ran for 12 days from late March, 2011, and Ms Bowden was summarily dismissed by a letter sent on May 27.
Ms Bowden gave evidence at the Fair Work Australia hearing that she was emotional and upset when she posted her Facebook comments.