Bunnings worker loses appeal after shoot gibe

A Bunnings employee who allegedly threatened to shoot everyone in the store while impersonating cowboy actor John Wayne has lost his unfair dismissal claim.

Bunnings has also banned the former Cairns employee from all its stores in Australia and police have suspended his weapons licence.

Fair Work Australia heard the man would visit the desk of the store's female customer service manager six to seven times before lunch each day, and witnesses overheard him making threats through John Wayne impersonations.

''I will hide in the bushes and when she comes out I will take her out with one clean hit,'' witnesses heard him say.

The tribunal also heard evidence that the man often made general threats to shoot people, such as "if I use a silencer no one will know I did it" and ''I could just come in here and shoot up the whole store and go home and have a cup of tea''.

The man worked in the builders hardware section at the store from June 2007 until being dismissed for serious misconduct in December 2010.

Matters came to a head in November 2010 after management confronted him overĀ  ''abusive/aggressive conduct'' towards a colleague.

The sacked employee denied that he went to the Bunnings customer service desk and loudly said: ''I've had enough of the women in this place and I want to work for Woolworths'' and ''I hate all the f---ing women in this place'' after the meeting.

After causing a disturbance in the store the man was advised he would be sacked if he sought any retribution against staff.

The tribunal heard he had previously made threatening comments about female employees and the store knew he had access to guns because he had placed an advertisement selling firearms on the store's notice board.

The company's Brisbane office advised the store to contact Queensland Police, who then arrested the man at the store but decided not to pursue charges against him.

The man told the tribunal's deputy president Diedre Swan the dismissal was unjust because he did not make threats against particular employees but agreed his comments about hating women could ''be viewed as offensive to a female co-worker''.

Deputy president Swan did not accept the man's denialĀ  because of evidence presented by witnesses and police, and said constant jests about shooting his co-workers ''suggested a more sinister motive''.

''On its own, the death threats constituted a valid reason for dismissal and cumulatively with the other allegations there is little doubt that a valid reason for dismissal arose,'' she concluded at a hearing in Cairns earlier this month.