Big red lie: dad sacked after taking a 'sickie' to go to a Wiggles concert

Photo: The Wiggles
Photo: The Wiggles 

Sean Mamo may have spent part of his day admiring a big red car, but unfortunately it was not the type of vehicle his employer Toyota was paying him to look at.

The Victorian dad, who worked as a car detailer for a Toyota dealership in Yarrawonga, took personal leave from work on June 28 this year saying he needed to care for his sick son but actually took the boy to a Wiggles concert. 

Mr Mamo's plan came unstuck after a photo of him with his son the concert appeared on social media, and was brought to the attention of the dealership's general manager Steven Zandt, leading to his dismissal. 

Mr Mamo took his former employer to the FairWork Commission claiming unfair dismissal, but in a decision handed down this week the claim was dismissed. 

"Mr Mamo's conduct is a clear case of misconduct giving rise to a valid reason for dismissal," the Commission's deputy chairman Alan Colman said in the decision.  

"He misled his employer in order to take a paid day off. He did not do what he ought to have done – ask to take a day of annual leave – because he did not think it would be granted.

"Mr Mamo decided that he was going to take the day off regardless, by providing a false reason for his absence, one which would ensure he was paid for that day."

The Commission heard Mr Mamo initially denied he had attended the Wiggles concert when questioned by Mr Zandt and dealership owner Robin Brewer. However after being told about the photo, he admitted to going to the show, adding that he did not apply for annual leave for the day as he did not think it would be granted.

Mr Mamo told the Commission the sacking had taken a toll on his personal life. He was unemployed for three months, needed to move to Melbourne to search for work and his relationship broke down.  

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Mr Colman said the decision to sack Mr Mamo was not "harsh, unjust or unreasonable".

He said that although the company had noted Mr Mamo's "past poor performance" in the termination letter, there was no need to investigate his past performance as the act of lying about personal leave was enough to warrant dismissal.  .

"Claiming personal leave to which one is not entitled is dishonest, and therefore a breach of the employee's duty of good faith," Mr Colman said.

"Secondly, it seeks to obtain financial advantage by deception, by claiming payment for an absence on the basis of a false assertion.

 "Mr Mamo's application for an unfair dismissal remedy is therefore dismissed."