Work can be a drag at times, let’s not lie to ourselves. You could be doing the coolest thing in the world, but getting up on a Monday morning to catch a packed train, bus or car will never be fun.
You’ve devised ingenious plan after ingenious plan to skive off work time and time again, but sadly, your creative juice is running low this time. What do you do? One electrician from Australia almost gave us the answer to all our prayers, but sadly fell short at the last hurdle.
Have you ever looked at a bag of chips and thought: “That’s the perfect way to stop someone from geo-tracking me!” Unless you’re MacGyver or this electrician with a serious penchant for golf, probably not.
A recent decision by Australia’s Fair Work Commision (FWC), saw electrician Tom Collela fired for using an empty, foil-lined bag of Twisties to block out signals that would have allowed his employer to track him using GPS.
After going undetected for a while, an anonymous letter to the company that Colella worked for allowed the workplace to catch wind of his “workplace attendance irregularities”, and he was promptly fired.
Collela also happened to be Captain of the Lakelands Golf Club outside of Perth, and as the Telegraph reports, he had “left work to play golf at least 140 times over the last two years.” That is a hell of a lot of Twisties.
Leaving work 140 times in itself is pretty damn ballsy, but Collela, who was making a salary of $84,000 (AUD $111,000), even had the cojones to claim that he was unfairly dismissed by the company, which is how the case ended up before the FWC and where the bag of Twisties emerged as the crucial piece of evidence needed to unlock the case.
FWC commissioner Bernie Riordan, who oversaw the case wrote in his decision, “I have taken into account that Mr. Colella openly stored his PDA device in an empty foil ‘Twisties’ bag,” referring to the “Personal Digital Assistant” used to keep track of the electrician’s whereabouts during the workday.
“As an experienced electrician, Mr. Colella knew that this bag would work as a Faraday cage, thereby preventing the PDA from working properly—especially the provision of regular GPS coordinate updates,” Riordan explained – an excellent combination of 19th-century ingenuity and 21st-century food packaging, but one ultimately used unjustly.
Riordan added: “I can find no plausible explanation why Mr. Colella would create a Faraday cage around his PDA, except to obstruct the GPS collecting capacity of the device. Mr. Colella appears to have been deliberately mischievous in acting in this manner.”
Mischievous for sure, but also crafty as hell in my opinion. The FWC sided with Collela’s employer, ruling that they indeed had “a valid reason to terminate Mr Colella” and that “Mr Colella’s termination was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.” The right decision, I think we can all agree.
Colella, who is now working as an Uber driver, may have been able to evade employer electromagnetism thanks to a bag of chips but there was no escaping the long arm of Australian labor law.