Australian Birdies bartender gets his wages deducted for using cell phone during shift: Reddit

A pub owner has released scathing CCTV images of a bartender publicly complaining that his pay was being docked for repeatedly using his phone at work.

The Melbourne University student complained that $298.65 was deducted from his salary after working at Birdies Mini Golf and Sports in Forest Hill, Victoria, on January 2.

His total wage for the holiday shifts should have been $537.57, but after deducting 9 hours of work he was only paid $238.92.

That’s because he’d spent “over 5 hours on (his) cellphone during (his) shift,” according to a payslip the unnamed bartender provided to Reddit.

“I used my phone when there weren’t any customers,” the bartender said. ‘Is that legal?’

Despite the old hospitality adage — “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” — the bartender received overwhelming support from outraged Reddit users.

Talking on the phone or eating and drinking during work are frowned upon in the hospitality industry.

But that was before the frustrated pub owner hit back by posting security camera footage showing the bartender constantly on his device.

Melbourne bar owner Stephanie Doyle said Birdie's mini-golf and sports bar was inundated with abuse after she complained that his salary was being docked on reddit

Melbourne bar owner Stephanie Doyle said Birdie’s mini-golf and sports bar was inundated with abuse after she complained that his salary was being docked on reddit

The clerk (pictured) claimed he only used his phone when there were no customers around

The clerk (pictured) claimed he only used his phone when there were no customers around

The employee shared his payslip, which shows he

The employee shared his payslip, which shows he “docked $298.65 on the cell phone for over 5 hours during the shift.”

Birdies owner Stephanie Doyle told Daily Mail Australia that what the staffer shared with Reddit isn’t the whole story.

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  • The bartender 2 votes
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She claimed the student, a casual worker, was paid for two more full days, even though he also used his phone on those shifts.

When he was on the phone for his third straight shift, she decided to cut his wages but claims to have warned him beforehand.

“We’re not talking about checking for messages every once in a while or composing a quick message,” Ms Doyle said.

“We’re talking more than five hours that he was on his phone ignoring clear instructions to stop this behavior and complete specific tasks.

“He was clearly engaged in personal activities for many hours and was not working.”

Ms Doyle has shared pictures of the bartender on his phone and claims she asked him to turn off his phone 12 times in one day - and he ignored her

Ms Doyle has shared pictures of the bartender on his phone and claims she asked him to turn off his phone 12 times in one day – and he ignored her

The bartender's total salary as of January 2 was supposed to be $537.57, but after deduction he was only paid $238.92 for nine hours of work - because he spent 5 hours playing with his phone

The bartender’s total salary as of January 2 was supposed to be $537.57, but after deduction he was only paid $238.92 for nine hours of work – because he spent 5 hours playing with his phone

“If that were your thing, would you find that acceptable?”

Ms Doyle claimed that on the day she docked the employee’s pay she called him 12 times “to explain that he needs to put his phone down and go to work”.

“He said ‘ok’ and then ignored me every time,” she claimed.

“On at least five of those calls I have reminded him that excessive and continued personal phone use is not acceptable and that he will not be paid for his entire shift if this continues.”

She also claimed he didn’t complete the work assigned to him — and even claimed his inattentiveness cost her hundreds of dollars.

The clerk worked a nine-hour shift at Birdies Mini Golf and Sports - but spent five hours looking at his phone, the bar's owner claimed

The clerk worked a nine-hour shift at Birdies Mini Golf and Sports – but spent five hours looking at his phone, the bar’s owner claimed

Ms Doyle said after the staffer shared his complaint with Reddit her account and the pub had been the target of

Ms Doyle said after the staffer shared his complaint with Reddit her account and the pub had been the target of “abhorrent” abuse

Ms Doyle said after the staffer shared his complaint with Reddit, her account and the pub were targeted with “abhorrent” abuse.

“I’ve received a barrage of hate mail saying outrageous things,” she said.

“Both of my venues and staff who work today have also received hate calls, which is inappropriate and distressing for them.

“I’ve been trolled on all forms of social media. All because of one employee who chose to share a snippet of the story rather than the whole story.”

The man claimed to have quit the job at the suggestion of other Reddit users, who also urged him to demand a refund of the docked salary.

“That motherf***er stole $300 from you. If he took it straight out of your wallet he would go to jail,” said one angry Reddit follower. “You have to fight for it if you can.”

The employee replied, “I’ll definitely fight for it – $300 is a lot for me.”

In a bizarre update Monday morning, the employee told Reddit followers that he received a terrifying phone call after asking for a refund on his docked salary.

When can an employer deduct from wages?

An employer can only deduct money if:

  • the employee agrees in writing and it is mainly for their benefit
  • it is permitted by law, a court order, or by the Fair Works Commission
  • or it is allowed under the award of the employee
  • or it is permitted under the employee’s registered agreement and the employee agrees to it.

Source: Fair Work Commission

“I have had no response from Birdies after trying to contact them. Received a call with no caller ID in a voice I recognize…

“He threatened to put up posters at Melbourne University (my uni) saying I was a pedophile. That’s the kind of people I deal with.’

Ms. Doyle dismissed the suggestion that she or anyone on her behalf did so.

“That is completely denied. I am the owner of Birdies and no one has made calls or anything.

“No one would do that for me. And under no circumstances would I ever ask anyone to do it.”

However, she said the bartender threatened her with “damage to reputation” if Birdies didn’t refund the docked payment.

“Fair labor is a fantastic resource,” she said. “If the employee wants, they can contact them and Fair Work will investigate.”

Ms Doyle said other employees also use their phones while working, but after warnings they usually stop.

“I’ve had to warn employees about watching movies on their phones and using the phone excessively, but they are changing their behavior according to expectations,” she said.

According to Fair Work Australia, “There are limited situations where an employer can make a deduction from an employee’s salary or require an employee to pay money”.

You cannot make a deduction if it is “unreasonable in the light of the circumstances” or if the worker is under 18 or there is no agreement.

According to the Fair Work Commission, wage deductions may only be made if approved by an employee or an applicable agreement allows it.

Birdies has an employee policy stating that wage deductions are possible for inappropriate phone use. Employees read and sign it on their first shift.

Birdies has an employee policy stating that wage deductions are possible for inappropriate phone use. Employees read and sign it on their first shift.

Birdies has an employee policy stating that wage deductions are possible for inappropriate phone use. Employees read and sign it on their first shift.

But in the Reddit post, the employee claimed, “There is no clause or any agreements I have with them regarding this.”

Ms Doyle said she sought legal advice before docking his wages.

“My understanding is that if an employee has received warnings (without any deductions or penalties) and is also aware of the policy, it is fair to apply a deduction,” she said.

“And not only did I think I spoke to him several times a day and kept warning him and he just ignored me as I wasn’t at the venue even though he knew there were cameras everywhere.

“That’s why I was so transparent on the payroll. I’m not hiding anything.”

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the United Workers Union and the employee for comment.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11638467/Australian-Birdies-bartender-gets-wages-deducted-using-mobile-phone-shift-Reddit.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Australian Birdies bartender gets his wages deducted for using cell phone during shift: Reddit

Bradford Betz

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