Unfair Dismissal

Daily Archives: April 20, 2022

Post dismissal behaviour

post-dismissal-behaviour

Post dismissal behaviour

If you try to search up anything relevant to what happens after being dismissed, chances are you would be directed to websites listing information on pursuing legal actions against your former employer. Or any “motivation tips” on how to get yourself back up in the job market. But what are the impacts of dismissal on employees? How does it affect the way people behave after being dismissed? Post dismissal behaviour has to be a consideration in employees moving forward.

We know about the psychological impact led by the grief of being dismissed or being forced to resign from a job. Such as the development of mental health related issues like anxiety and depression. We also know about the financial impact of losing your income. How affording, your grocery, paying for your bills and repaying your debts or mortgage become struggles. In some cultural groups the shear embarrassment of losing the job.

Extreme behaviour

We have had clients suicide, numerous have had nervous breakdowns. These outcomes have to be avoided at all cost. On the other side we have seen employees take the law into their own hands threaten the ex employer, or take to social media in the most abusive way. Employees turn a legitimate unfair dismissal case into a mess. There are numerous Fair work Commission (Fair work Australia) decisions that consider post employment behaviour as part of the decision making process. Or as a consideration in the calculation of compensation.

There have been decisions where the employee has won the unfair dismissal case and be awarded nothing because of their behaviour after they were dismissed. The FWC unfair dismissal decisions are usually a public document. What potential employer wants to read about an employee applying for a job’s behaviour after they lost their job last time?

being-blamed-being-dismissed
Being blamed, being dismissed

Impact of dismissal

However, there seems to be a lack of qualitative study done looking into the impact of dismissal in shifting the way people behave. The certain post-dismissal behaviors exhibited by people who have been dismissed from their jobs.

The grief of being dismissed is often associated with the feeling that they have been done “wrong” by their employers. That the dismissal is unfair, and their employers are using excuses to get rid of them. The only reason because of their personal bias or discriminatory belief. This can be the case, and under such circumstances employees can seek entitlements by lodging the relevant unfair dismissal or general protection applications to the Fair Work Commission. Or other discriminatory bodies, including the federal (AHRI). You would be shocked at how many articles you can find on google for “tips on firing people”. Or “how managers make unwanted employees go away”. 

The perception that they have been done wrong generates the desire for these ex-employees to seek justice for themselves. To get revenge from their employers. Some people look to legal revenues to seek justice by taking the employers to the Fair Work Commission or relevant bodies. Others resort to other revenues, potentially violent and / or illegal behaviors, to outburst their agony for allegedly being treated unfairly. (as previously mentioned).

Taking legal actions

A recent example of ex-employees taking their employer to the court can be seen in the case of Transport Workers’ Union of Australia v Qantas Airways Limited [2021] FCA 873 where ex-staffers who were made redundant had united to pursue a class action against Qantas Group.

Qantas, among other airline companies, had been gravely impacted by the shutdown of travelling due to the global pandemic. The Qantas Group incurred a substantial loss with international flights being cut down. As result, in August 2020, the company first announced the possibility of outsourcing its remaining ground-handling operations to third parties.

The decision was later confirmed by the company at the end of 2020. With about 2,000 Qantas staff being made redundant. Strangely enough, many of the staff who had been “made redundant” under the plan were members of the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU). With their enterprise bargaining agreement due to open for renegotiation around the time they were made redundant.

General protections claim

An action was brought by the employee’s union group (TWU) against Qantas Group under the FWC General Protections regime. General Protections are protections that employees are entitled to under their employment, and the employer cannot take adverse action against the employee due to a protected reason. In this case, the adverse action was reflected in Qantas’ decision to make the employees redundant.

The adverse action was alleged by the TWU to be taken to avoid the need to negotiate. To deal with the employee’s union as their enterprise bargaining agreement expired later that year, which would be a protected reason. Employees under the enterprise bargaining agreement would engage in a process of negation with their employers, accompanied by their representatives, about the terms of their employment. Employees exercising their rights to negotiate and engage with representatives would be protected under general protections from any adverse action carried out by their employers.

post-dismissal-behaviour
Fair work Australia regime or Federal court, their all strict

Compensation or reinstatement

Some ex-employees consider legal action against the employer in the hope of monetary compensation. They know that there is no prospect of returning to the company, but they want their entitlements from the company to do their justice. However, this General Protections claim against Qantas Group initially aimed to seek reinstatement of the staff who had been let go. Despite the unfair treatment, the staff considered injustice could be undone by restoring them to their original positions. That they had never been made redundant and could still keep their income.

Justice Lee in the Federal Court ruled that Qantas Group had failed to disprove that the cause of its decision to make the staff redundant. (in general protection claims reverse onus applies).That it was not to avoid dealing with the staff’s union and re-negotiating their agreement in relation to their enterprise bargaining agreement. Justice Lee also commented on Qantas’ behaviour, saying that Qantas should not “get away” with its wrongful conduct. In this sense, consider justice done for those employees being treated unfairly.

However, the employees’ quest for reinstatement was denied by the court. This was because compensation was considered a more appropriate remedy for the staff. So, is justice restored, noting that the employees’ desired outcome was rejected by the Federal Court? This decision has been appealed by the TWU.

Illegal action

The scenario between redundant staff and Qantas Group may not always be the case. Each case raises or falls on its own merits As some ex-employees may have a weak claim against their employers, or even have no case against the employers if they are dismissed based on valid reasons. These employees cannot get the “justice” they call for by taking legal action. Alternatively, some employees simply cannot afford to initiate legal proceedings, as legal actions can be stressful and costly.

They have to rely on other revenues to seek vengeance from their ex-employers. In some extreme cases may involve illegal actions. For instance, a UK man planned a revenge cyber-attack by hacking the company’s computers and blackmailing his ex-boss after being dismissed. On another occasion, an ex-employee in Brisbane sought revenge for being dismissed by facilitating theft against the employer. Illegal behaviors are obviously not encouraged and should be condoned. Lets be honest we are no longer in the wild west.

keep-the-job
Getting another job

Conclusion to Post dismissal behaviour

I hope some of the article on post dismissal behaviour has been of some assistance for you. I know the focus is getting another job, paying the bills, I get that. All information can be helpful. Even if one line in this article helped, I’m glad. If I can be of assistance, you welcome to call me. My name is Gary Pinchen. We are leaders in workplace commentary, and representation. Want advice, call, its free, prompt and confidential.

Call 1800 333 666

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Workplace whistleblowing

workplace-whistle-blowing
Toxic workplaces and being forced to be a whistleblower come in all shapes and sizes. There is a sinister underbelly to some of Australia’s largest companies.

Workplace whistleblowing

Whistleblowing in the workplace has become one of the most powerful ways of gauging the public’s attention. Shedding light on corporations’ wrongdoing, especially with the high-profile revelation of Facebook’s unethical behaviors by its ex-employee. For people who have been dismissed, especially when they feel like they face injustice from the company, whistleblowing can be seen as an effective outlet to air the company’s “dirty laundry”. By exposing toxic behaviors to the public and to right what has been wronged.

Dismissal and whistleblowing

For a lot of the employees who have been dismissed, they consider themselves as victims of toxic company culture such as bullying, unjustified warnings, unnecessary threats of dismissal sexual harassment and racism. Recently, allegations against Virgin Airline’s workplace culture have come to the spotlight. As the ex-chief pilot publicly accused Virgin’s CEO of bullying behaviour after being dismissed. In another case, an African American employee went against Tesla in exposing the company’s culture of racism.

Many and many ex-employees have attempted to come out to reveal toxic or discriminatory company culture via the media. Social media platforms have also become ways for ex-employees to tell their stories in unfolding the unfair treatment they are subjected to by the employers. This is a dangerous game, that creates uncertain scenarios. Employers are increasingly dismissing

employees for this behaviour, and countering with defamation claims.

Most companies have social media polices, which is a way of indirectly shutting the employee down from using the social media as a forum to whistle blow.

Whistle Blow legislation

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) both contain protections for whistleblowers. Amending legislation that came into effect on 1 July 2019 strengthened the protections in these Acts. This factsheet focuses on the strengthened protections under the Corporations Act.

You can learn more about ASIC, if you click here, Download a complaint form, click here

employee-safety-comes-first
Safety is the largest area of whilst blowing, Employees cannot stand by and watch co workers be injured and potentially killed.

Whistle blowing limitations

However, the power brought by whistleblowing has limitations. Revealing a company’s alleged wrongdoing is only effective when it gains public attention. If you are exposing a local small business’ toxic workplace culture or misdeed, not a lot of people would be interested in the story or care about it enough to affect a change. For bigger corporations, the exposé can attract media attention and public awareness. But you can potentially backfire by facing defamation claims brought by your ex-employer. That your whistle blowing act contains untrue statements against the company and damages the company’s reputation.

Note that bigger corporations would be inclined to put pressure on any whistle blowers with court action. Considering they can afford to do so with all the money and legal resources. Large corporations also have more incentives to employ fear tactics or intimidations to scare people from carrying out any whistle blowing acts against the company, in fear of reputational damages. Threats of dismissal is common place

For example, it has been revealed that the boss of BrewDog, a multinational brewery, attempted to intimidate former staff from unmasking the brand’s toxic culture in a critical documentary. Ex-employees often feel that they are at a disadvantaged and powerless position in going against big corporations. Another example of this is TV stations, owned by large corporations. They at times come out with outrageous programs, news stories. On occasions setup’s, absolute breaches of privacy. Of course the public love it, ratings are up. Who’s got the money to take them on?.

Look at the show “cop’s”, RBT, “highway patrol”, the only cars the police pull over are poor whites and poor blacks in low economic suburbs. Of course they don’t have the money to fight back. What rich people in BMW’s don’t speed?, give me a break.

Its in the workplace

We see this in the workplace its a form of “unconscious bias”. As it was referred to in the Victorian Supreme court, by Justice Richards in a recent case on rights in the workplace to the same pay for females. 80 percent of our enquires (10,000 a mth, we know what we are talking about). Are from working class western or outer suburbs around, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. This cannot be a coincidence. If the employer is going to bully, dismiss, underpay, sexually harass. They don’t pick the richest employee in the office that for sure.

A lot of firms, including us, do no win, no fee work. However employees still need to survive while their unfair dismissal or general protections claim is processed, settled. We see this with sexual harassment claims where employees take early settlements, below what there claim is worth, they need to survive. Whistleblowing the same, do I face potential dismissal because I want to stand up for everybody? Or do I continue to pay the bills. That’s why a lot of whistleblowing claims are lodged after employees are dismissed. Nothing to lose now.

No incentive to investigate

On the other hand, what much can be done by uncovering these misconducts or toxic cultures anyway? Large corporations are no strangers to any toxic workplace allegations, including Rio Tinto and Sony Music, just to name a few. However, there has been a lack of action being done to mitigate these concerns of toxic workplace. We are yet to see any proper inquiry into toxic workplace culture led by any relevant official bodies.

Big companies are not incentivized to investigate and address any issues related to their toxic work environments as they do not consider these actions to be cost-effective. Alternatively, the toxic traits may be embedded in the company’s culture enabled by higher managerial level. A simple act of whistle blowing by ex-employees may not be powerful enough to affect corporate systemic changes and bring justice, more needs to be done.

Employees are choosing where to work

Interestingly employees when looking for work, changing employers, are looking past just the salary when deciding where to work

do-not-resign
Many times you just feel like walking away. Maybe its the best thing to do, maybe it isn’t. Get advice before you press that button

Workplace whistleblowing

I hope this article was of some assistance to you. You certainly will have that feeling like your on your own. Your always welcome to give us a call and discuss where your at. We are A Whole New Approach, leaders in workplace commentary and representation. Facing dismissal for raising your concerns, feel your being forced to resign. Facing a workplace investigation call us immediately. Advice is free, prompt and confidential. We work Australia wide.

Call 1800 333 666

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