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An unjustified dismissal at Fonterra

A Fonterra worker was dismissed for taking part in two Harlem Shake meme videos filmed at the company's Takanini plant.

David Farrar
Wed, 15 Jan 2014

An interesting case from the Employment Relations Authority: A Fonterra worker was dismissed for taking part in two Harlem Shake meme videos filmed at the company's Takanini plant.

Reading the judgment I agree that dismissal way way over the top for a pretty minor infringement of the rules.

The health and safety risk was minimal, and the appropriate reaction would have been a warning at most.

Dismissal was an over-reaction and it is good to see an order for reinstatement.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

BELOW: the two Harlem Shake videos uploaded to YouTube that led to Fonterra worker Craig Flynn's dismissal. Although it reinstated Mr Flynn on a permanent basis, the ERA said his actions were "causative of the outcome and blameworthy" and did not award him any damages. The Authority reserved its decision on costs. The smoko break prank occurred in March last year. Soon after, the ERA ordered Fonterra to temporarily reinstate Mr Flynn until a substantive hearing, the result of which was released yesterday. - Editor.

For readers who've been locked out of the house for the past year, Harlem Shake was an internet meme that hit the net in early 2013.

Videos last between 30 and 32 seconds and feature an excerpt from the song "Harlem Shake" by electronic musician Baauer. Usually, a video begins with one person (often helmeted or masked) dancing to the song alone for 15 seconds, surrounded by other people not paying attention or unaware of the dancing individual. When the bass drops, the video cuts to the entire crowd doing a crazy convulsive dance for the next 15 seconds.

The most famous local example was performed by the Shortland Street cast:

Here's a compilation of others:

David Farrar
Wed, 15 Jan 2014
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An unjustified dismissal at Fonterra