A Valid Reason to Dismiss Is Not Enough

Another recent case Constantinos (Costa) Telidis v Susorra Pty Ltd t/as Garmex highlights the need for employers to follow procedural fairness and due process in dismissing employees.

The Claim

After 6 and a half years of what was described in the case as being an “acrimonious relationship”, a sales representative of Garmex was dismissed. During the dismissal meeting, there were angry outbursts on all sides and the representative made various accusations of the company’s directors, including that they were having an affair with each other. Within days of his dismissal, the representative lodged an unfair dismissal claim.

Within his claim, he alleged that his employer failed to pay him his entitlements and when he complained he was called a whinger. The representative also claimed that the workplace was unsafe, the company directors were untruthful, negligent in their duties and they had allowed the workplace to become rife with bullying.

The employer refuted these allegations, stating that the representative’s employment had been terminated due to him repeatedly not meeting his sales targets and that the representative had been issued with prior warnings because of his poor performance. The representative denied his poor performance and alleged that he had never signed the warnings.

The Valid Reason

The Fair Work Commission accepted that the representative refused to follow instructions, that he challenged authority and interfered with other employees work responsibilities. Additionally, it was found that the representative had a hostile, disrespectful and belligerent attitude towards his co-workers and his superiors and pages from his diary, which were tendered as evidence, contained profanities and nasty messages about his fellow co-workers.

The bottom line was that even without the sales performance issues the employer had valid reasons for dismissing the representative.

The Findings

However, there were significant holes in the process the employer took when dismissing the representative. It was not clear whether the representative was provided with a specific reason for the dismissal, there was no notice provided to him when he was required to attend a meeting and it was found that he had not been given a sufficient and fair opportunity to respond to allegations as to the allegations of his poor performance or his misconduct.

Ultimately, it was decided that despite there being valid reasons for the dismissal, the representative’s dismissal was unfair because there was no procedural fairness or due process followed.

Conclusion

The above case is yet another example of employers being scrutinised for not following a valid and procedurally fair process of dismissal despite having very valid reasons for dismissal. This scrutiny by the Commission is the norm and the risks of not following due process are too great to be ignored by employers.

Having a valid reason is not enough when dismissing an employee. A careful process must be followed to ensure that a dismissal does not become unfair.

If you are unsure of what process to follow give Moreton Bay HR Solutions a call on 0459 220 516 so we can discuss the best way to avoid a claim and minimise the risks faced by your business.

Comments are closed.