A woman who sued her employer for unfair dismissal, after she was fired for her frequent tardiness, claimed she was going to bring the “biggest sexual harassment case in Australian history” before launching into a foul-mouthed tirade against colleagues.
Details of Kim Stevens’ conduct were outlined in a recent judgment by Victoria’s Fair Work Commission, including how she refused to use her employer’s attendance recording system because of concerns about “biometric data”, blasting her former workers in an expletive-laden spray and claiming she would “acquire ownership of the company” after launching the sexual harassment case.
The commission also found she had also lied about her vaccination status at the time she was employed – in breach of the company’s public health requirement.
Ms Stevens launched an unfair dismissal claim against construction supply company William Adams after her employment was terminated in April this year.
But Fair Work deputy president Alan Colman found the dismissal was “not harsh, unjust or unreasonable”.
The company had introduced a new attendance recording system and Ms Stevens, who was employed as a used equipment inventory co-ordinator, objected to using it.
She claimed she was concerned about the system’s ability to “collect biometric data”, despite the function being disabled by the company.
Ms Stevens was frequently warned for not arriving to work on time, despite performance reviews.
“From March 15-28, Ms Stevens did not record any time on TANDA and was late for work by an average of 40 minutes each day,” Mr Colman said in his judgment.
Before she was dismissed, Ms Stevens claimed she was about to bring the largest sexual harassment case in Australian history and she would “acquire ownership of the company” as part of the settlement.
The alleged sexual harassment related to a complaint Ms Stevens had made about a co-worker, where she believed she was accused of “having an affair” with another transport supplier to the company.
“Ms Stevens had approached the worker with several invoices to sign for Vic Low Loaders, and he had said to her: ‘You must love Vic Low Loaders’,” Mr Colman said.
The co-worker had apologized to Ms Stevens for any misunderstanding and she had accepted the apology.
Ms Stevens’ employment was terminated on April 1, 2022.
In response, she screamed at the company’s human resources manager Simone McKay, using a slur and said she would “ruin” Ms McKay’s career.
“Ms Stevens ran into the used equipment building, repeatedly screaming at the employees present that they were ‘all f**king c**ts’ and that she hated them,” Mr Colman said.
“Ms Stevens denies calling Ms McKay a ‘f**king c**t’ but does not otherwise dispute this account.”
In her evidence, Ms Stevens claimed she had been dismissed under “false pretences” and the reasons given were “a guise” to cover up “ongoing sexual harassment”.
This is despite admitting she had been late to work “nearly every day for four years and it had never mattered”.
When a hearing for the unfair dismissal was listed for July 14, Ms Stevens said she was not vaccinated against Covid-19.
“Ms McKay said in her evidence that she was surprised to learn that Ms Stevens was not vaccinated, because on November 27, 2021 she had sighted Ms Stevens’ immunization certificate that purported to confirm that she had received two doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine,” Mr Colman said.
Ms Stevens later admitted she had lied to the company about her vaccination status.
“This suggests that the vaccination certificate that she showed to the company was a forgery,” Mr Colman said.
In his findings, Mr Colman noted Ms Stevens had received payment in lieu of notice when the company would have had cause to dismiss her for misconduct for lying about her vaccination status.
“Dismissal was a proportionate response to Ms Stevens’ failure to address the company’s concerns,” he said.
“The company was, in my opinion, very patient with Ms Stevens and afforded her ample opportunity to improve her timeliness and her use of the TANDA system.”