Whilst the Fair Work Commission (FWC)recently found an employee who aggressively verbally abused his manager was validly dismissed for serious misconduct, the employee was still awarded compensation due to the employers’ failure to follow a fair and due process.
The employee who had been employed in this organisation for more than 5 years used as expletive when speaking with the Operations Manager and then hung up when the topic of the employee parking his vehicle in a prohibited space came up in a telephone call.
The employee then resumed an “expletive laden tirade” when the Operations Manager phoned him back before hanging up on him again.
It was determined that the employee’s conduct of aggression and abuse, would be enough to constitute misconduct that was contrary to any continuation of the employment relationship.
However, even the most difficult employees are entitled to natural justice. In this instance and after the Operations Manager spoke with the Managing Director, the employee was sent an email terminating his employment summarily.
Although there are circumstances that would validate termination via email or text, such as safety concerns or the employee not being available for consultation, this situation did not constitute a reason to not provide the employee with an opportunity to provide response.
Further, as the employee had not read his emails the night prior, he found out about his dismissal when he attended the workplace the following day. The employer still did not make an attempt to follow a fair process.
The FWC deemed it irrelevant that any type of response would not have changed the decision to terminate the employee’s employment, the fact that the employee was dismissed via email was both inappropriate and unnecessarily harsh and deserving of remedy.
After reducing the remedy by 50% due to the employee’s own conduct, the employee was awarded $1515.
For assistance with due process when managing your employees, please contact us at [email protected] or 1300 720 004.
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