Employee should have been allowed to chat -

An Aussie  bloke who was fired because he used an email chat service during work hours has been found to have been unfairly dismissed.

According to AP, Richard O'Connor was employed by an outfit called Outdoor Creations. He had resigned and was about to leave the company when he was abruptly sacked for carrying out more than ''3,000 transactions on a chat line during work time''.

Apparently, after he resigned, his employer David Kirkpatrick noticed a decline in O'Connor's activities. He searched 0'Connor's computer and found he had used the Google Mail chat service when he was supposed to be working and that he had emailed copyrighted plans to an external email address.

He accused O'Connor of ''accepting wages and not undertaking the work but instead engaging in personal activities and claimed that it was akin to the theft ''of hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of paid time'. O'Connor said that he 'rarely spent more than 20 minutes chatting.

However when it came to the Industrial Tribunal, Commissioner Anne Gooley said neither party had provided independent evidence about the internet use.

O'Connor also said he had permission from his employer to send the plans to an external email address, so she ruled that it was a case of unfair dismissal.