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How to win friends and a workers’ compensation award

How to win friends and a workers’ compensation award

Matthew Styles was the manager of a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia in 2008. And it appears he was not so good at customer service.

When an allegedly drunk customer started to complain about how long it was taking to prepare his food order at the Red Rooster, Styles engaged in a foul-mouthed shouting match with the customer. But the verbal insults weren’t enough for these two. While it isn’t clear who actually started the fight, video footage from the order window shows Styles with his fists raised as the customer angrily approached him. Styles claimed later to be over-stressed because three of his staff had reported in sick that day.

In the ensuing fight, the video also captured Styles breaking his wrist while repeatedly pounding on the customer. Naturally, he filed a workers’ compensation claim for his injuries.

The Red Rooster was not amused by their employee’s behaviour and terminated Mr Styles for a breach of “behaviour standards”. And they objected to his workers’ compensation claim.

Although the employer pointed out that Mr Styles has a lengthy criminal record, a magistrate was not swayed and considered the customer to have been the aggressor. The employer was even less amused when the magistrate ruled that the broken wrist arose “out of or in the course of the employment”. The Red Rooster has appealed the judge’s decision, but there is no word if Styles ever objected to being fired.

Now, Australian rules may be a little different, but a word to the wise employer in Canada: Try to discourage your employees from beating the daylights out of your customers.

Posted by Paul Harris

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