Knife-wielding agent loses unfair dismissal case

Steven Cross

A Tasmanian real estate agent who threatened a tenant with a knife has had his appeal for wrongful dismissal denied.

Agent Michael Ross felt he was forced to resign from his position the day after the incident involving the unnamed tenant.

According to the transcript from Fair Work Australia’s decision, Mr Ross initially took the knife out of fear of the tenant’s dog.

Mr Ross had driven to the property to advise the occupants of a routine inspection for the next day.

“The Applicant admits that he had a knife in his hand when he engaged in a verbal altercation with a tenant on 25 August 2011," the transcript read.

“At least part of the verbal altercation … was recorded by the police when the tenant rang them whilst the Applicant and the tenant were exchanging words.

“At the time they [the tenants] were washing their pet dog on the front, outside the front of the house. The Defendant has approached the property and the dog has been taken and locked inside the house.

“When the dog was locked inside the house ... The Defendant has alighted from his car and walked up to the female occupant.

“The complainants’ describe him as agitated and was carrying a knife in his right hand. [The tenant] was concerned about what happened and dialled 000 on his mobile phone. The conversation that subsequently occurred was recorded on the 000 line.”

The recording convinced the Judge that Mr Ross was genuinely afraid of the ‘fearsome’ dog, and had the altercation taken place without the knife, Mr Ross would have a case for unfair dismissal.

During the argument, the female occupant can be heard asking, “Why come on to our property holding a knife like that threatening our dog?”.

The documents claimed Mr Ross then held the knife above his shoulder, made stabbing motions with it about two feet from the tenant. He then said, “If I was holding a knife to your face it would be coming out the back of your f**king head”.

At this time the complainants made their way back to the house, entering the dwelling.

Mr Ross represented himself at the trial.

Steven Cross

A Tasmanian real estate agent who threatened a tenant with a knife has had his appeal for wrongful dismissal denied.

Agent Michael Ross felt he was forced to resign from his position the day after the incident involving the unnamed tenant.

According to the transcript from Fair Work Australia’s decision, Mr Ross initially took the knife out of fear of the tenant’s dog.

Mr Ross had driven to the property to advise the occupants of a routine inspection for the next day.

“The Applicant admits that he had a knife in his hand when he engaged in a verbal altercation with a tenant on 25 August 2011," the transcript read.

“At least part of the verbal altercation … was recorded by the police when the tenant rang them whilst the Applicant and the tenant were exchanging words.

“At the time they [the tenants] were washing their pet dog on the front, outside the front of the house. The Defendant has approached the property and the dog has been taken and locked inside the house.

“When the dog was locked inside the house ... The Defendant has alighted from his car and walked up to the female occupant.

“The complainants’ describe him as agitated and was carrying a knife in his right hand. [The tenant] was concerned about what happened and dialled 000 on his mobile phone. The conversation that subsequently occurred was recorded on the 000 line.”

The recording convinced the Judge that Mr Ross was genuinely afraid of the ‘fearsome’ dog, and had the altercation taken place without the knife, Mr Ross would have a case for unfair dismissal.

During the argument, the female occupant can be heard asking, “Why come on to our property holding a knife like that threatening our dog?”.

The documents claimed Mr Ross then held the knife above his shoulder, made stabbing motions with it about two feet from the tenant. He then said, “If I was holding a knife to your face it would be coming out the back of your f**king head”.

At this time the complainants made their way back to the house, entering the dwelling.

Mr Ross represented himself at the trial.

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