One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz
One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz

Sacked Youfoodz chef settles $180k claim

BRISBANE-based meal delivery company Youfoodz has settled a $180,000 unfair-sacking claim brought by its former head chef.

On the day the case was due to go to hearing, Zosia Kilmartin, a solicitor for former head chef Rodney James Thirlwell, 47, from Scarborough, told the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane the parties had reached a settlement and a deed had been executed.

Ms Kilmartin asked Judge Gregory Egan to vacate the hearing, which was set to begin on Monday.

Mr Thirlwell, who is also a former procurement manager, sued IDK Pty Ltd, trading as Youfoodz, in November 2017 claiming he deserved two years' salary as compensation for his sacking.

Mr Thirlwell alleged that Youfoodz CEO Lance Giles told him over the phone on May 21, 2017 that he was going to be sacked, and his sacking occurred on June 27.

Mr Thirlwell claimed that Mr Giles told him on May 21 that he could not expect to take two weeks of personal leave and return to work.

Still from a Youfoodz TV ad
Still from a Youfoodz TV ad

Mr Thirlwell claimed he was exercising his workplace right to take personal leave between May 5 and May 21, because he was temporarily unfit due to mental illness or a pre-existing mental disability.

He also took further personal leave between May 22 until June 27, the claim filed in court states.

One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz
One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz

Youfoodz denied Mr Giles told Mr Thirlwell that he could not expect to take two weeks of personal leave and return to work.

The company alleged Mr Thirlwell was terminated because of Mr Thirlwell's ongoing "serious negligence and incompetence" and his ongoing "deliberate and wilful" failure to follow lawful instructions and directions, as well as improper use of Youfoodz confidential information and acting in a way that was likely to injure Youfoodz' reputation.

Youfoodz stated in court documents that they paid Mr Thirlwell more than his entitlements on termination of his employment, and argued he failed to mitigate his loss by getting another job.

Prior to becoming Youfoodz CEO Lance Giles founded and ran My Fit Fridge on the Gold Coast, which went bust in 2012 with total debts of $1m.

 

Business partners Lance Giles and Jordana Scott with some of the meals they sell in their company MyFit Fridge
Business partners Lance Giles and Jordana Scott with some of the meals they sell in their company MyFit Fridge

 

Youfoodz has another case before the courts, as it fights a statutory demand for payment to its chicken supplier.

Youfoodz operates out of a factory in an industrial area in Virginia, in Brisbane's northern suburbs.

Started in 2012, Youfoodz ready-made meals are now stocked in 3000 IGA's and petrol stations around the country and it delivers online orders of $50 or more to customers in all metro areas in Australia.

Youfoodz' largest shareholder and sole director is New Zealand-born Karl Arthur Giles, 32, from Ashmore on the Gold Coast, company records show.

One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz
One of the prepared meals supplied by Youfoodz

His father Arthur John Giles, from Reedy Creek, is the second largest shareholder, followed by Youfoodz chief financial officer Jennifer Dowery and another shareholder.


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