Sacked for getting drunk on peach martinis while off duty
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Sacked for getting drunk on peach martinis while off duty

Luke Urso's dismissal from his "dream job" as a Qantas flight attendant after he got drunk on peach martinis and gin and tonics after work was not unfair, the workplace relations tribunal has found.

The Fair Work Commission ruled Qantas was justified in sacking the flight attendant for getting drunk while he was off duty because its employees had a duty to be "ready and able" to work.

The Fair Work Commission has ruled a Qantas flight attendant was fairly sacked for getting drunk on peach martinis while off duty.

The Fair Work Commission has ruled a Qantas flight attendant was fairly sacked for getting drunk on peach martinis while off duty.Credit:Brendon Thorne

The commission heard Mr Urso had two peach martinis and three gin and tonics during a night out at the Fifth Rooftop Bar in New York on July 22 last year.

At around 11.40pm, Mr Urso was found vomiting and collapsed on the floor of the toilets in the bar and taken to Greenwich hospital, which recorded his blood alcohol level at 0.205 per cent. The brief hospital stay cost Qantas $20,000 in fees.

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Mr Urso called in sick the following day, when he was due to work on a 5.10pm flight to Los Angeles. Two days later, he flew to Los Angeles as a passenger before returning to Brisbane on July 27.

FWC deputy president Lyndall Dean said Mr Urso understood the requirement "that he be ready and able to attend work the following day when he attended the bar".

"Mr Urso's claim that he could have five alcoholic drinks without compromising his ability to operate the next day, in my view, was unfounded and was proved to be wrong," she said. "The evidence in my view clearly supports a finding that Mr Urso consumed an excessive amount of alcohol."

She was satisified his dismissal was for a valid reason and not unreasonable.

"I am unable to conclude that his dismissal by QCCA was unfair and I do not consider his dismissal was disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct," Ms Dean said in her judgment.

Mr Urso, who had heart surgery earlier in the month, argued that his illness after drinking alcohol did not mean the quantity was excessive. He said he believed his drink might have been spiked.

Anna Patty is Workplace Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a former Education Editor, State Political Reporter and Health Reporter. Her reports on inequity in schools funding led to the Gonski reforms and won her national awards. Her coverage of health exposed unnecessary patient deaths at Campbelltown Hospital and led to judicial and parliamentary inquiries. At The Times of London, she exposed flaws in international medical trials.