An article written by Ben Schefe
In late 2019, the Fair Work Commission heard an Unfair Dismissal Application where a mine employee was terminated from her employment for two incidents of misconduct. The first incident occurred out of work when the employee placed butterknives and other inappropriate items in a colleague’s bag prior to a flight. The second incident occurred after the employee had been put on notice regarding the first incident, when she was seen wearing her work uniform in an inappropriate photo that was taken at work and posted on Facebook.
Whilst the Commission found that the employer had a valid reason to dismiss the employee due to her misconduct, the employer was ordered to pay the employee compensation as the process the employer followed was not in accordance with their Enterprise Agreement.
This case highlights the importance of procedural fairness when terminating an employee.
Whether you are terminating an employee for misconduct or redundancy, procedural fairness is extremely important, and the Fair Work Commission will always consider whether the employee has been afforded this when making decisions in Unfair Dismissal Applications. Further, most Awards will include a clause regarding the process that must be followed when terminating an employee.
You can read more about the performance management and termination process on our website, however, we strongly recommend having a chat to one of our experienced employment law solicitors before beginning the process of terminating an employee to ensure that you have done everything you can to prevent an Unfair Dismissal or other Fair Work Commission Application.