I lost the battle

10 November, 2010

On the 19th of October I tweeted that the wheel of my car had been clamped in the carpark at work and my access to the carpark revoked for three months. I didn’t agree with the action that was taken by carpark management so I contested it. That took a bit of work as the person responsible hadn’t left any information or emailed me with a follow-up, but I did track them down.

I expressed my disappointment that my access had been revoked immediately without giving me a chance to appeal the decision and stated my reasons for not accepting the ruling:

There are no visible signs in the carpark that advise vehicles should be parked in marked bays only, there are no signs that indicate the area I parked is a no stopping or no parking zone and I did not park against a red-painted curb.

The response I got back started with:

There are signs on entering the general carpark warning that if you are not parked in the car bays then you will be wheel clamped. There is also a note in the Car Parking policy stating: Employees must abide by the following parking and traffic regulations:

… and then proceeded to cite the Car Parking Policy, which included “Parking is only permitted in bays”.

I was pretty fired up by their response and shot back with:

Please provide a photo of the sign(s) you indicated: “on entering the general carpark warning that if you are not parked in the car bays then you will be wheel clamped” … as I have been unable to locate this sign.

Thanks for also bringing to my attention the Car Parking Policy on the […] intranet as I am now informed of the policy, however it’s not reasonable to expect employees to trawl the intranet and locate such policies of their own accord.

If you want to take drastic action such as clamping vehicle wheels and revoking access to the carpark then you have a legal responsibility to ensure you inform users of the carpark of such policy. Having it hidden away on some website and bringing it to people’s attention only after a breach is utterly indefensible.

The security desk informed me I have a right to appeal this decision … which I consider I have done in my previous email yet it appears you’ve made no attempt to even consider my appeal and have just responded with a boilerplate email. If there is someone else I need to appeal to to contest this action then please advise.

So what did the person do? Escalate it:

I have spoken to my team leader who supports the removal of your access for 3 months. Please note the sign is on the general carpark boomgate. An email was sent to all staff before wheel clamping commenced […]

Ok, so they didn’t seem to be acknowledging anything I was saying or asking for. Fine:

I previously requested you provide photographic evidence of the sign you mentioned. As it appears you are unwilling to oblige me with this request I’ve gone and done some investigation myself.

Having located a sign similar to what you describe I can see why you were reluctant to provide a photo as the sign (photo attached) does not stipulate parking in bays as you stated. I can only assume that there’s another sign I failed to locate or your memory failed you.

In an effort to wrap this matter up I’m going to give you one final chance to engage constructively with me directly:

a) I’m willing to concede that it was reasonable to expect me to have been informed about the ruling that cars not parked in marked bays would be wheel clamped and access removed for 3 months if you can advise that the all-staff email you mentioned was sent after 7 December [2009] which is when I started my employment.

b) If the all-staff email you mentioned was sent before 7 December [2009] and given your stance on the matter and inability to provide me a fair appeals process then I will have no choice but to escalate to mediated dispute resolution.

Once again they didn’t respond to what I was saying or asking for but just further stated the background of the policy. Wow, am I talking to a robot here?

I’d had enough by then and decided I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this and it was causing me too much stress so I left it for a little while … but I wanted to know if I had received the email they mentioned.

Considering I’d already asked for information about that email and they ignored my request I simply let them know I was preparing an FOI request to retrieve a copy of the email just so I could complete and thus close the file on the matter. Surprisingly they quickly responded and provided me a copy of the email. Sad that I had to go to that extreme just to get information from people in my own organisation – we’re supposed to be on the same side!

Anyway, so I lost the battle and thus do not have access to the staff carpark till mid-January, just weeks before I finish up and move to New Zealand.

Annoyingly, I had to travel to Sydney yesterday for work and had to get a colleague to park my car in the staff carpark as I didn’t want to leave it overnight out on the street.

Ah well, I tried.


  1. If this were a public carpark I’d have copped a $70 fine. If I had indeed parked illegally, I’d pay the fine and be done. If I hadn’t parked illegally I’d appeal it and have the fine revoked, and I’ve done that before.

    But in this case I have no fair right of appeal and I will end up paying about $180 in parking fees because I can’t park in the free staff carpark, more than double what the parking fine in a public carpark would be – not to mention the inconvenience such as I mentioned when I travel interstate and need to leave my car in a secure place.

  2. The thing that REALLY irks me about this is when I suggested months ago that these very same people look at using the newly-deployed internal wiki to coordinate car pooling for staff I got a “Hmm, cool, but no thanks” response.

    But when it comes to matters like this they’re willing to spend an infinite amount of time with red tape.

    Hence my tweet earlier today about enabling arms of organisations actually, you know, enabling. Adding value.

  3. what would have happened if a member of the public had illegally parked there.

  4. Be thankful you have a carpark… I have to find on-street parking, which forces me to get to work as early as possible, or otherwise get in late and go hiking :/

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