There are probably innumerable ways to break your wrist at work and qualify for workers’ compensation. But punching a customer?
OK, so the case happened in Australia. Read on, and you’ll find out why it caught our attention.
Matthew Styles, a Red Rooster restaurant manager in Melbourne, was already having a bad night. Three workers called off.
A customer was getting impatient for his food and asked Styles whether his order would be ready “today.” Styles replied, “tomorrow.”
A shouting match broke out, with the customer allegedly yelling, “I’m gonna find ya and kill ya.” Styles responded by allegedly calling the customer a “f-ing clown.”
Video footage shows the two ready to fight, with Styles’ hands raised as the customer walks toward him. The video doesn’t show the fight itself because they took the phrase “take it outside” literally, and fought in front of the store.
Court documents state “a struggle then ensued.” Styles broke his wrist.
Red Rooster refused Styles’ compensation claims. It noted that he had a prior criminal record including arrests for assault and he didn’t honor the company’s “employee behavior standards.” What, Red Rooster meals don’t come with verbal assaults?
Styles was fired, but a magistrate found his injuries arose “out of or in the course of the employment.” (Sound familiar to those of you who deal with U.S. workers’ comp law?)
He got 13 weeks pay.
So, the next time you read about a workers’ comp case in the U.S. that makes you think What was the judge thinking? remember that these cases aren’t exclusive to America.