Mr B. was dismissed (justifiably on the finding of the ERA) because he turned a customer's car stereo up.
Koru Valet Parking and Air New Zealand Parking apparently count its clients as "the cream of the New Zealand business community".
Apparently the "cream" of the New Zealand business community told the employer that the changing of radio and air conditioning settings in their vehicles by the employer's employees adversely affected their trust in the company. The employer then implemented a "don't touch" policy after receiving a series of complaints about such actions, taking the view that the actions created a threat to its business.
Mr B. was employed and received a copy of the employer's rules at the commencement of his employment. The rules clearly stated that unauthorised tampering with any fittings or accessories in a customer's car was considered serious misconduct and the penalty was instant dismissal
I cannot imagine a day that was so bad that I would complain to a car valet service that somebody had moved the station from sports radio to easy listening FM.
Neither can I conceive of a day where the changing of my air conditioning would tip me over the edge.
That, however, is not the point. Apparently there are those in the "cream" of the New Zealand business community who do get uppity when this happens and the employer clearly had clients who did complain about such things.
In October 2010 Mr B changed a customer's radio station and there was a complaint. He got a warning.
On 26 May 2011 a customer was outside the airport terminal waiting for his car to be dropped off. His car arrived with loud music blaring from the stereo. The customer was very angry and shouted at Mr B.
Mr B. was dismissed. In finding that the employer was entitled to dismiss Mr B. the Authority member found that Mr B. breached the "do not touch" rule, that Mr B. had transgressed before and that Mr B. still did not seem to appreciate the importance of the "don't touch" rule. The Authority member found that the conduct met the level of serious misconduct and the dismissal was justified.
This is a good lesson for employers. If you have Rules and if you tell employees the consequences of breaking the Rules then - as long as you follow a fair procedure - you can dismiss employees for not following the Rules.
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