Fonterra reinstates second Harlem Shaker

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 09:38 15/01/2014
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A second Fonterra employee sacked for performing the Harlem Shake at work has won his job back.

Henry Taufua, a packer and robot operator, was fired after he was filmed riding a pallet jack in a video that showed him and six other employees re-enacting the internet meme at the company's Takanini plant.

He and another colleague, Craig Flynn, were both dismissed over the incident.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) yesterday released its decision on Flynn's reinstatement, and it has now ordered that Taufua also be reinstated.

Fonterra had accused the men of putting themselves and others at risk of harm because of their antics during the enactment.

Taufua was said to have "rode a paper trolley or pallet jack in an unsafe manner endangering himself and others, and failed to report unsafe acts by other employees".

Flynn was accused of "dancing with a shovel between his legs, hosing water where another employee was dancing, and splashing a pallet endangering himself and others".

Both argued their actions weren't dangerous, but simply "horseplay" and that they were unfairly dismissed.

The workers said they performed the Harlem Shake while on their break. One man filmed it on his iPad then uploaded two videos to YouTube.

The clips begin with the men doing a clean-up. It then switches to an enthusiastic dance scene where the men use their work gear as props, and one man hangs from the ceiling. Taufua rides the pallet jack across the floor.

While Fonterra said the situation was dangerous, the ERA ruled Taufua was going too slowly to cause harm and the jack was unlikely to tip over.

The ERA said therefore Taufua was unfairly dismissed. It declined to award compensation.

The videos remain on YouTube.

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- Fairfax Media

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