A teacher who was fired after sending a “Reply All” email and traveling to Bali while on sick leave has won a major victory.
Stanislaw Kosiek was fired from Brisbane’s Marist College Ashgrove on August 9 before taking the matter to the Queensland Federal Court.
The case was withdrawn after a month and Mr Kosiek took “early retirement” in September, marking the end of his 22 years at the school.
Mr. Kosiek had accidentally sent a “Reply All” email criticizing his bosses in February.
The school then expressed concern that he had traveled to Bali for a holiday despite being on sick leave and unable to carry out his “normal work duties”.
Federal Court Judge Berna Collier sided with Mr Kosiek and said in an interim ruling that he had made clear his intention to travel to the holiday hotspot.
Stan Kosiek, who taught at Marist College Ashgrove in Brisbane for 22 years, has withdrawn his unfair dismissal claim against the college after months of discussion.
Michael Newman, principal of Marist College Ashgrove (pictured), had fired Mr Kosiek for taking an unauthorized vacation while on sick leave, which a federal judge found questionable.
“I accept (Mr Kosiek’s) argument that the evidence presented to the court showed that at all times he had been completely honest about his reasons for wanting to travel to Bali during his leave illness, including the fact that his treating physician had approved this trip as beneficial to the plaintiff’s health,” Justice Collier ruled.
Marist Schools Australia told the Federal Court Mr Kosiek was dismissed because he took the trip while on sick leave and before receiving approval to convert it to unpaid leave. Courier mail reported.
Mr. Kosiek had submitted the medical certificate indicating that he would be out of work from April 17 to May 28.
A letter from the college was included in court documents.
“On May 3, you provided the College with a medical certificate confirming that you were ‘currently being treated for a medical condition and…unable to attend to (your) normal work duties from April 17 to May 28,'” it says read in the letter.
“The College has learned that during this period of alleged incapacity, you in fact traveled to Bali for vacation and informed several colleagues.”
A few months earlier, Mr. Kosiek sent a “reply all” email on February 17 and insisted it was only intended for his union representative, Madonna Spillane, according to court documents obtained by the Courier Email.
Instead, he hit “Reply All,” which sent the email in which he berated the IT department’s inadequacies to the entire staff.
“Recently, leadership in IT has been far from adequate,” the email read.
“Continually relying on past violations to find excuses for not correcting current violations is not enough to move things forward.
“We have a great IT staff, but recently the big guys in town stopped feeding at the pool sales (sic) store and are up to their $250,000 job.”
Two days after sending the email, Mr. Kosiek sent a response withdrawing his comments, but within a week he was resigned with pay.
According to court documents filed by Mr. Kosiek, he was actually fired for criticizing his supervisor in an email he accidentally sent to all the teachers, not just his union manager.
Marist College principal Michael Newman said the email had ’caused great upheaval’
Marist College principal Michael Newman said the email had “caused great upheaval”.
On July 11, Mr. Kosiek apologized directly to the head of the IT department.
But on August 9, he was told that he was fired.
Mr. Kosiek withdrew his case before the Federal Court on September 27.
A college social media post informed students and staff that the science teacher had entered “early retirement” effective September 7.
“Stan Kosiek has been a highly valued member of the staff at Marist College Ashgrove,” the college wrote.
“We thank him for his contributions during this period of service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Marist College declined to provide further comment on the mediation discussions “out of respect for all parties involved.”