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CSIRO worker loses bid for job

Former CSIRO employee Jack Hoffman.

Former CSIRO employee Jack Hoffman. Photo: Rohan Thomson

A former CSIRO employee who says he was forced to resign over the purchase of a Big Mac hamburger appears to have lost his battle to get his job back.

Jack Hoffman, a veteran CSIRO technician of 10 years, was subject to an internal misconduct investigation after he was spotted by colleagues buying a burger in a McDonald's drive-through while in a work car in May last year.

He was stood down for the private use of a CSIRO car, but was later reinstated in June. He resigned a month later, and claimed he was forced out by a campaign of bullying and harassment.

Mr Hoffman took the case to the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to win back his job, alleging constructive dismissal.

But the former technician missed the cut-off date to submit the application by 119 days, forcing the tribunal to consider whether he should be granted more time.

He told the tribunal he was unable to apply for unfair dismissal because he was incapable of functioning normally in the first five days after his resignation, hardly leaving his bed.

He said depressive illness prevented him from lodging his application before November 16.

But commissioner Barbara Deegan rejected Mr Hoffman's claims of exceptional circumstances, noting he had made 400 job applications by October.

''It is apparent that, at that stage he was already preparing to apply for jobs he had found online, was thinking rationally and had access to his computer and the internet,'' Commissioner Deegan wrote.

''In addition to this, in an email of 16 October the applicant states that he had made some 400 job applications since his employment was terminated. I cannot accept, in such circumstances, the applicant's claim that his mental health was such that he was unable to pursue an application for unfair dismissal in the same period.''

Mr Hoffman could not be reached for comment.

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