By James Atkinson

An employee of a national pub group who was sacked for smoking inside while on the job should still receive her long service leave entitlements, a court has ruled.

Independent Pub Group (IPG) sacked the food and beverage attendant from her job at the Crown Inn Hotel in Old Reynella, South Australia, after she was captured on CCTV smoking inside on two occasions in the same shift in October 2010.

IPG – a private equity-owned company that is believed to be on the market – withheld the worker's long service leave entitlements on the basis that her sacking was due to serious and wilful misconduct.

But in the South Australian Industrial Relations Court, Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie ruled that while the worker's conduct was serious, it could not be viewed as wilful.

He said that on both occasions the worker had moved outside shortly after lighting the cigarette, proving she had a "demonstrated intention to vacate the area and go outside".

"To say that such conduct justifies the loss of livelihood, termination of employment and loss of accrued long service leave entitlements is not correct," he said.

He ordered IPG to pay the worker's entitlements under SA's Long Service Leave Act.

IPG CEO Greg Maitland declined to comment.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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