Mr Matthew Boulton v Telstra Corporation Limited. [2019] FWC 370. (U2018/6378). Spencer, C. 25 January 2019.


The applicant in this matter was caught-out selling mobile phones in direct competition with employer – Telstra. This misconduct was discovered when one of his private customers complained of a faulty phone to the applicant’s manager.


In rejecting the application, the Commissioner found:


  • It is impractical for the Applicant to be reinstated, due to this lack of trust and confidence in him, and the employment relationship had irretrievably broken down.
  • The Applicant confirmed that he had been trained on the Respondent’s Conflict of Interest policy and that he conceded the conduct may give rise to a finding of a potential or actual conflict-of-interest.
  • Even though the applicant stated that the he was selling the phones outside of business hours there was a sufficient nexus with the Applicant’s employment, to bring the conduct within the employment sphere.
  • The Applicant’s conduct was directly non-compliant with the Respondent’s Conflict of Interest policy.
  • It was procedurally fair process.
  • The Applicant’s long employment history was taken into account.




Have to a “Code of Conduct” which includes a “Conflict of Interest”. Also, this provision should be in all contracts of employment. Are your employees aware of these obligations? Have they been inducted?

Greg Reiffel Industrial Relations & Human Resources Consulting has been providing the following services to businesses for over 30 years:


  • General HR and IR advisory service.
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  • People Audits (are you at risk of prosecution?).
  • Enterprise Agreements, Contracts of Employment, Individual Flexibility Agreements.
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