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Woman fired for leaving 15 minutes early

Published: 12:24PM Monday May 06, 2013 Source: Fairfax

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A receptionist who was fired after leaving work 15 minutes early will be paid more than $13,000 by the company that dismissed her.

Colleen Mattingly was employed as a senior receptionist at Strata Title Administration from October 2008 until her dismissal in October 2012, an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) finding says.

Strata is a private company which specialises in administration for body corporates. Mattingly's hours of work were from 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

On Friday October 20, 2012, the day before Labour Weekend, her managing director Brent Williams advised some staff they were able to leave early, but told Mattingly she had to stay and answer phones until the end of her shift.

However, Mattingly left at 4.15pm to attend a doctor's appointment and to collect medication before the long weekend, the report said.

Mattingly said she did not tell her boss she was leaving because it had slipped her mind and when she left he was on the phone.

When she returned to work on the Tuesday she was called into Williams' office but the report said there was conflict over what was said at the meeting.

Williams said Mattingly, when questioned over leaving early, belligerently said "well sack me then". She vehemently denies this.

Mattingly said Williams said it would be better for her health if she no longer worked there. He denies this.

Either way, Mattingly left the meeting in tears and having been dismissed, the report said.

The ERA found that Strata had not acted properly and there was no evidence Mattingly had invited Williams to sack her.

She said she loved her job and needed the income.

The company was ordered to pay Mattingly more than $7000 in lost wages and $6000 compensation for the humiliation and loss of dignity she suffered as a result.