The former business development manager of Optus Business Centre East Brisbane is suing the company in a breach of general protections suit.
Michael Alexander Gambaro’s employment with Mobycom Mobile, which trades under the Optus name, was terminated on 23 May after just over four months following allegations of “serious misconduct”, including alleged assault.
Gambaro told the Queensland Federal Circuit Court that he only acted in self-defence and that he was restraining a colleague to prevent “further attacks”.
He told the court he had "worked in the professional industry for the past 12 years, but he has never witnessed the extent of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour which occurred at the employer's business premises".
Gambaro claimed he himself had been assaulted by a colleague that he dubbed "a walking safety hazard", according to court documents – claims the employer denied.
He is seeking $73,365 in compensation, plus interest, for damages caused by alleged contravention of parts of the Fair Work Act.
He is also seeking unpaid wages and commissions of $24,333 plus super, as well as $36,500 plus super for future economic losses for a period of six months.
The dismissal is only one part of Gambaro’s breach of general protections suit. He also alleged his former employer did not provide him with a safe workplace and failed to resolve a colleague's alleged serious misconduct.
In addition, Gambaro also alleged that Mobycom failed to pay him the correct base wages, overtime and commissions; that it didn’t maintain true and honest payslips; and that it failed to maintain proper record keeping.
Mobycom denied the allegations. It said Gambaro's "employment was terminated for serious misconduct after the first respondent reached a finding that the application had assaulted at least one colleague".
The company claimed that Gambaro did not raise any work, health and safety complaints during his employment with the company.
The company argued that Gambaro was not forced to take overtime and that he was not entitled to any commissions in April and May.
The company said Gambaro was not entitled to damages for non-economic loss because Mobycom did not breach any provisions in the Fair Work Act.
CRN contacted Gambaro and Craig Southam, managing director of Mobycom Mobile. Southam said he had been advised not to comment.
The case is listed for a directions hearing on 5 February.
Updated 9.30am 5 December to clarify the proceedings are a breach of general protections suit, not an unfair dismissal.