Opposition Leader Tony Abbott visits a building supplies business in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
A man who alleges he was forced to resign from his job after he heckled Opposition Leader Tony Abbott during a workplace visit earlier this year has won a payout from his former employers.
Steven Bailey approached Mr Abbott during a visit to CRT Building Products, accusing him of not caring about low-income earners. He said he was forced to resign the next day after being told what he did was ''wrong'' and ''selfish''. But the company's managing director, Tim Wilson, said he resigned because he wanted to change from five days a week to four.
In July the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered that Mr Bailey be paid $608. Mr Bailey, 28, had sought $4839.20 plus costs citing breaches of an employment contract, implied duty of mutual trust and confidence, and constructive dismissal. But Trusses & Frames Pty Ltd disputed the claim, saying he had resigned and was not entitled to compensation.
The tribunal heard Mr Bailey was a full-time student at the Australian National University originally employed for four days a week to accommodate his studies, with at least one week's notice of resignation or termination to be given. But, he had been working a five-day week because of university holidays at the time.
During the meeting about Mr Abbott's visit, Mr Bailey raised the issue of returning to a shortened week. He subsequently quit and did not return to work that day. He was later paid out his wages for the days he had worked, and his benefits, but was not given any payment in lieu of notice.
In a decision published last month, tribunal member Mary-Therese Daniel found partially in favour of Mr Bailey but said he could not seek compensation for the same loss twice. She ordered that he be paid $608, which was one week's pay under the contract of employment.