They lose their jobs. It's important to understand, however, what the term "abusive" means. It means swearing or hurling insults or threatening violence. It doesn't mean being curt. That's the same standard I use for patients. Everyone has a bad day or moment now and then, but cursing, insults, and threats cross the line.
A LESBIAN shop worker sacked for throwing a bag of flour at a customer who called her a “filthy dyke” has won her case for unfair dismissal.
Caroline Gardener snapped after the man became abusive when he was unable to find any lime cordial in the shop. She claimed that he pushed her, called her useless and told her: “Get your sex life sorted out.”
Miss Gardener, 45, retaliated by throwing a packet of flour at the back of his head. When they went to the manager’s office to complain about each other’s conduct, Miss Gardener lunged at the customer.
She told the tribunal: “I didn’t go for his throat, I just went for his collar because he had really upset me. When he called me a filthy dyke I had a pack of flour in my hand and, although I regret it now, I threw it at the back of his head. He then turned round and said, ‘You are a dyke and you’re going to get the sack’.”
Miss Gardener was dismissed for violent and insulting behaviour after a disciplinary hearing in September last year.
They should both be sacked. The customer should be permanently banned from the shop, and the clerk dismissed - as she was. The tribunal is wrong. There are some lines of civility that shouldn't be crossed unless a life is in danger. Both the customer and the shop worker crossed those lines.