A man on a warning for telling his supervisor to "f**k off" was fired after saying to the same man "I know where you live" after a run-in only a few months later.
Tangianau Here had worked for Auckland company McAlpine Hussman Ltd for 20 years when the final incident happened, according to an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) finding.
Mr Here's supervisor, Dave McAuley, told him to do something on December 6, 2010, but when he checked five minutes later he found Mr Here chatting with another worker.
Mr Here said he was discussing the instruction but Mr McAuley said there was no need to discuss it, and that Mr Here knew what to do.
"Mr McAuley said Mr Here made a comment about the workplace not being a prison. Mr McAuley said it was not a holiday camp and Mr Here was expected to work," the finding said.
Mr Here then stood a few metres from McAuley and yelled that he had better not make another complaint about him.
"Mr McAuley replied `or what'. Mr Here said `I know where you live'."
The incident followed one on July 21, when Mr Here received an employment warning for swearing at Mr McAuley.
"This incident related to Mr McAuley checking whether Mr Here had completed some work that had been assigned to him.
"Mr Here's response was to tell Mr McAuley to f**k off and do some work."
At a meeting after the December incident, Mr Here told factory manager Kevin Atkins he would do as he was told and that he wanted to come back to work.
Mr Here also gave Mr Atkins a letter of apology for Mr McAuley in which he said he meant no harm or malice.
However, he was dismissed.
"A threat had been made and Mr McAuley had taken it as a threat, as had people who had heard it," the finding said.
"Mr Atkins had to look after the health and safety of all staff."
The ERA finding said four of Mr Here's colleagues later signed a document which said they witnessed the "so-called threat" to Mr McAuley and "we never took this seriously and everyone laughed about it".
Two of the signatories were called to give evidence at the ERA's hearing into the matter, at which it emerged one of them was outside having a smoke and did not actually see it.
ERA member Dzintra King said Mr Here's apology and undertaking to get on with Mr McAuley would have made it likely the dismissal was unjustified, had it not been for the previous warning.
However, it was justified in the circumstances, she said.
McAlpine Hussman did not return APNZ's call, and Mr Here could not be contacted for comment.