Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal

You’re Dismissed! 12 crazy ways employees are sacked

You’re-Dismissed!-12-crazy-ways-employees-are-sacked
Some employers and employees see the work place as a boxing contest. It isn’t, each has a role to play, avoid that dismissal

You’re Dismissed! 12 crazy ways employees are sacked

When you work hard at a job that you love the worst possible words you can hear are ‘you’re dismissed’. To be dismissed from any job can be heartbreaking or extremely anxiety-inducing. But if you’re dismissed for something trivial, sometimes you just have to laugh. Below are some of the crazy reasons people have been dismissed. You’re Dismissed! 12 crazy ways employees are sacked is compulsory reading

Killer Raisin

A lady tripped over at a movie theatre and broke her hip. In the panic, the lady starts screaming that she tripped on a chocolate covered raisin and that the theatre should pay. The new manager decided that someone would pay. He called the employee on shift into his office and suspended him to make the woman feel better. But the employee wasn’t having it. He decided to tip a whole box of chocolate covered raisins on the floor and started stomping on them. He yelled, “do you see this?! It’s impossible to trip on a raisin!”

He was dismissed on the spot but claims it was worth it. It definitely would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall for that encounter!

sacked-on-the-way-out
Dismissed on the way out, many dismissals are unnecessary

Super Mum

A fast-food chain employee was dismissed on the spot for stealing $300 from the register. Of course, this was with no proof, no video footage, and every chance it could have been any employee in the store. The 17-year-old goes home and tells their mum who decides that justice against this fast-food chain will be done.  She took the case to court and won over $7000 in the process! Turns out it was the manager that dismissed the 17-year-old who actually stole the money. Who would have figured?

Turn off your camera, now you’re dismissed

One department head locked himself in the conference room with an office admin… turns out the teleconferencing system was still on. The session was broadcasted live to head office. After working from home for the past two years everyone should know how to turn off their camera…

Stolen Game

A small video game store had a $50 game stolen from them. The store owner then proceeded to tell the employees on shift that the price of the game would be coming out of their wages. The employee told the owner, “just because someone stole from you, doesn’t give you the right to steal from me.” Turns out the next thing the owner did was steal his job from him.

Petrol Station Mishap

An employee was working at a petrol station where it was common for people to just drive through it as a shortcut to avoid traffic lights. One car started driving through then stopped as if they were waiting. The customer then eventually pulled into a spot to fill their car. Apparently, this wasn’t good customer service. The manager started yelling at the employee for not waving the customer through to the pump. The manager screamed, in front of the customer, “I think you should learn to use your brain a little better.” The employee responded, “I think you should stop being such an a****** to your employees in front of customers.” He was dismissed on the spot but sounds like he dodged a bullet.

the-employer-ordering-a-employee-out
The Employer ordering a employees out. This dismissal there was no valid reason and procedural fairness wasn’t given.

Hit and Run

A fast-food employee had a blind customer who would come over for lunch most days from his apartment across the street. One day this man got hit by a car on his way over to the restaurant. The employee dropped the food he was carrying and started running over to the man while screaming he needed help. The boss yelled after the employee that he was dismissed if he left the restaurant. The employee kept running to try and save this man’s life. Sadly, the man passed away, however, the employee was rehired 30 minutes later when the boss realised how bad he looked by dismissing him in a literal life-or-death situation.

Dodgy Computers

After being employed in a new IT position at a technology shop, the employee was told to install some illegal software onto the business machines. The employee refused and the owner said, “if you don’t install that software, consider yourself fired.” The employee said, “works for me” and walked out. Here’s the twist, the employee called up the business’ head office, informed them about the illegal activity and the business dismissed the owner as their IT contractor straight away!

Missed Shift, you’re dismissed

After being newly hired an employee made sure they wrote down their schedule so that they’d know when they are working. They were not rostered on for Thursday. The employee shows up to work Friday morning as usual. The manager asks what they’re doing there and that they’d already hired someone since the employee didn’t show up to their shift the day before. The employee shows him the schedule and says that he didn’t have a shift the day before, and if he did, why wasn’t he called? The manager just said that they should know their schedule by now and that they were dismissed.

Red and Khaki

A Target employee was working in a not-red-enough shirt according to his manager. The manager told the employee to make sure he was wearing the proper red and khaki uniform for his next shift. The employee came into work the next day wearing red pants and a khaki shirt… so technically the correct colours. He was dismissed straight away; it was probably worth the laugh though.

about-to-be-dismissed-the-employer-being-a-bully
The employer being a bully, do you stay and do your best?. Get possibly dismissed? Or run (forced to resign). Employees don’t want to be crushed.

Factory Madness

An employee was sweeping floors at a factory. The manager was constantly sexually harassing the women that worked at the factory. The manager then patted his (big) stomach and said, “good tools are stored under a roof.” The employee replied, “nothing grows in that shadow.” That was his last day at the factory.

Music Store Camera

A small locally owned music store employed a few part-time university students as sales assistants. While they all liked their job, they occasionally complained about being at work, saying the typical, “I want to go home” or “I’m so tired”. Well, one morning two employees were casually complaining about work while having a conversation about their lives. The next day one of them was dismissed for ‘not being a team player’. Turns out the store had cameras that could pick up audio and the boss had been listening to his employee’s conversations. Just a little bit creepy…

Dating Problems

While working as a delivery driver for a pizza place an employee got jumped by his ex-girlfriend. She literally jumped on his back and kicked and punched him until he managed to escape to his locked car. The driver called the police, got a restraining order and walked back inside to his job. Instead of being asked, “are you ok?”, he was dismissed for not keeping his personal business out of work. He hadn’t even seen his ex-girlfriend for six months!

dismissed-wanting-his-final-pay
Dismissed, wanting for his final pay after being sacked. No co worker there to support him. Everybody worries about their own job. They don’t want to be dismissed themselves.

Conclusion to You’re Dismissed! 12 crazy ways employees are sacked

Clearly, some of these employers don’t know or care about fair work laws! While some of these people found the whole situation funny, it’s still important to know your rights as an employee. That way if an employer takes advantage of you, you can stand up for yourself! Dismissing someone on the spot for a passing comment or for missing one shift is definitely not cause for dismissal. Additionally, speaking up for yourself about mistreatment in the workplace cannot result in dismissal. If you are dismissed in either of these circumstances, then you may be able to take your case to the Fair Work Commission!

We are A Whole New Approach P/L, the nations leading workplace advisors. All Fair work Australia matters, workplace investigations, abandonment of employment, probation period issues, workers rights, casual employment concerns, call us. Advice is free, prompt and confidential, 1800 333 666

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Reinstated for unfair dismissal after saying “f..k off Karen”

Reinstated-for-unfair-dismissal-after- saying-"f..k-off-Karen"
Is “f**k off Karen” abuse, or just rude? This unfair dismissal case reveals the answer

Reinstated for unfair dismissal after saying “f..k off Karen”

An unfair dismissal case has seen the reinstatement of a Gold Coast bus driver who was told to “f**k off Karen” by a passenger. The insult came after the bus driver asked the passenger to wear his face mask properly. An act that earned her a summary dismissal from her employer. Reinstated for unfair dismissal after saying “f..k off Karen” is common place when analyzing the calls we get. Abuse by and belligerent customers, co workers, managers can be part of everyday workplace life if you let be so.

This case posed two critical questions to the Fair Work Commission. Firstly, what is considered abuse? The employer insisted that in being sworn at by the passenger, the bus driver wasn’t subject to abuse. Rather, it was simply ‘rude’ behaviour. The second question posed was: should a frontline worker be dismissed for enforcing COVID-19 mandates if it’s a breach of company policy?

Reinstated for unfair dismissal

Let’s look at the incident that led to the bus driver being dismissed for “serious misconduct,”. The reasons why the Commission ruled it an unfair dismissal and reinstatement should apply.  

“Please, please put it on”: Bus driver told off for politely asking passenger to wear face mask  

On 16 September 2021, 55-year-old Gold Coast bus driver Amie Logsdon was driving her route for Surfside Buslines when she picked up a troublesome male passenger. Not only did the passenger fail to pay his fare. But he also sat in the seats marked for the disabled. And with Queensland COVID-19 health orders in place across the state, he wasn’t wearing his face mask properly, having it placed under his chin.

What happened next was critical to this unfair dismissal case. While driving, Ms Logsdon asked the passenger to adjust his face mask so it would cover his mouth. The passenger replied by asking if it was mandatory to do so. When told it was, he claimed that he had an exemption. Ms Logsdon subsequently asked the passenger why he was wearing a mask at all if he has an exemption. The man replied that he had been visiting a friend in day surgery.

But Ms Logsdon remained persistent, again asking the passenger to “Please, please put in on”. To this, the passenger replied “F**k off Karen”. For verbally abusing her, Ms Logsdon told the passenger that he can get off at the next stop. But when the bus arrived, the passenger refused to alight.

Call the police

After this refusal, Ms Logsdon used her radio to contact her control room, asking them to call the police. She also requested all the passengers still on the bus to get off. Eventually, the non-compliant passenger alighted from the bus. This came after he stated that he was a law student, and that in his opinion, the police would not turn up. The police did in fact turn up, but the passenger had already caught another bus.

Reinstated-for-unfair-dismissal-after-saying-"f..k-off-Karen"
You should not be dismissed for doing your best. Ms Logsdon has a history of helping her passengers. Was she dismissed too hastily because the passenger and company thought they could bully her because she was female?. We may never know. Diversity and equity in the workplace has to be practiced, not just a sign on a wall.

The employee is dismissed by her employer for “serious misconduct”

Following the incident, Ms Logsdon received an instant dismissal by Surfside for breaching the policy of Translink. Queensland’s public transit agency. Specifically, by attempting to enforce the Queensland Government’s mask mandate. According to Surfside, that in itself was a violation of the mandate. As it states that “frontline staff are not expected to undertake any enforcement activities in relation to passengers not wearing a mask”. Rather, the enforcement is the sole responsibility of the police. Therefore, in not complying with the mandate, Ms Logsdon was in breach of Translink and Surfside policy.

On 22 September 2021, Ms Logsdon was issued a letter of employment dismissal. In it, Surfside stated that she had engaged in “willful or deliberate” actions that “had the potential to cause serious risk to the health and safety” of herself and all passengers on board. The letter also noted that Ms Logsdon could contact the Fair Work Ombudsman if she wanted more information about the minimum terms and conditions of employment.

The employee wins her unfair dismissal claim with Fair Work Australia

Ms Logsdon took her ex-employer’s advice to seek workplace relations assistance. On 12 October 2021, she filed an unfair dismissal application with the Fair Work Commission. She submitted that she wanted her employment with Surfside reinstated, and to receive lost pay brought about by its termination.

In January 2022, the Commission found that Ms Logsdon’s had in fact received an unfair dismissal. Commissioner Bernie Riordan refuted Surfside’s claim that Ms Logsdon had enforced the mask mandate. He also stated that she hadn’t asked the passenger to get off the bus for not wearing a mask. Rather, because he verbally abused her.

Asking a customer to follow instructions

“I struggle to see how asking a person who is already wearing a mask to place it over his mouth rather than wearing it under his chin can be described as somehow enforcing the mandate,” said Commissioner Riordan. “[Ms Logsdon] did not tell the passenger to get off the bus for not wearing his mask, did not refuse to drive the bus until the passenger put on his mask and did not speak in an authoritative voice to the passenger.”

And even though he found Ms Logsdon didn’t in fact enforce the mask mandate. Commissioner Riordan remarked that he found it “incredulous” that an employee would be dismissed for asking a passenger to comply with it.

Bus-driver-doesn't-want-a-toxic-work-place
Driving bus public transportation during pandemic . Professional bus driver with protective mask as prevention. Employers have to ensure it is not a toxic workplace. “The customer is not always right.”

The Commissioner slams the employer’s ‘incorrect and astonishing’ evidence

Surfside Driver Manager, Matthew Thompson, had submitted to the Commission that the “F**k off Karen” remark wasn’t tantamount to “abuse”. Rather, he maintained that it was simply “rude.”

“I do not believe that the passenger’s rudeness justified refusing him travel. Especially as he had not started the conflict and he appeared to be lawfully entitled to not wear a mask,” said Mr Thompson.

Commissioner Riordan however disagreed entirely, stating that it was in fact verbal abuse. He deemed Mr Thompson’s evidence as “inappropriate, incorrect and astonishing.” And he questioned Mr Thompson about whether he still believed the “Karen” remark wasn’t abuse. Mr Thompson subsequently recanted his words.  

The Commissioner also stated that Surfside “did not respond appropriately” to the verbal abuse. Also, that it had “simply condoned the actions of the passenger,” even though they were in breach of the company’s passenger code of conduct.

“Not having a bet on the last race at Doomben”: The employer’s claims are further eviscerated

As part of their defence in this unfair dismissal case, Mr Thompson had told the Commission that Ms Logsdon had a history of “non-compliance” with instructions. More than a year before her dismissal, she had received a final warning for using her smart watch to call the parent of a child who missed their stop. Surfside’s code of conduct states that the use of a mobile phone “including texting, blue tooth” while driving can justify instant dismissal.

However, Commissioner Riordan quashed Mr Thompson’s claim that Ms Logsdon was in breach of the code. He said that Mr Thompson “did not provide me with any material which identifies a smart watch as a Bluetooth device”. He also said that Ms Logsdon “had a valid reason to use her smartwatch” to contact the child’s parent.

“[Ms Logsdon] was providing a service to a worried mother, not having a bet on the last race at Doomben or talking to a friend,” said Commissioner Riordan scathingly.

workplace-wellness-be-protected-from-dismissals
Workplace wellness should be a key employer goal. Being dismissed, given a warning, subject to a workplace investigation is wrong. This Fair work (FWC) decision sends a clear message to employers this has to be practiced.

According to what criteria was the unfair dismissal decided?

For an unfair dismissal claim to be successful, the Commission must decide if the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. It must make this judgement while considering certain criteria. One of these is “whether there was a valid reason for the termination which relates to the employees’ capacity or conduct.”

In the aforementioned case, Ms Logsdon had submitted to the Commission that the reason for which she was dismissed was not valid. Section 387(a) of the Fair Work Act 2009 states that a reason for dismissal must be “sound, defensible or well founded.” It also can’t be “capricious, fanciful or prejudiced.”

The Commissioner had found that Ms Logsdon hadn’t breached Surfside’s code of conduct, nor that of Translink. In fact, he found that Surfside had breached the Translink’s Passenger code of conduct by inappropriately responding to the abuse Ms Logsdon suffered. For these and several other reasons, the Commissioner found that her “dismissal was harsh and unreasonable, and therefore unfair.”

Have you experienced an unfair dismissal?

If you think you’ve been dismissed unfairly, it’s important to understand the criteria by which the Commission (FWC) will make its decision. However, this is often difficult if you’re not familiar with workplace relations legislation. What is a fair workplace investigation?, what is serious misconduct?. Dismissal is it fair or not fair?. How does all this apply in the workplace? Of course the case we have examined today get the publicity. However every case is different, it rises or falls on its own facts and merits.

workplace-bullying-policies
Everybody is entitled to feel safe from dismissal. That the employer support you in times of conflict.

Conclusion to Reinstated for unfair dismissal after saying “f..k off Karen”

For over 20 years, A Whole New Approach has helped thousands of people like you fight for their workplace rights. We make the process of submitting an unfair dismissal application simple and explain your legal rights in easy-to-understand terms. Call us on 1800 333 666 for a free, confidential discussion. Any Fair work Australia, workplace investigations, abandonment of employment, resign related issues.

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Dismissed for complaining worker wins $100,000

excised-a-workplace-right-then-got-dismissed
Your workplace should not be like this. Whether you will be dismissed or not for excising a right. (adverse action, ie complaining_

Dismissed for complaining worker wins $100,000

A recent general protections claim for adverse action case has seen a manager win almost $100,000. After he was dismissed for making a series of complaints to his employer. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia found that the employer had executed an ‘elaborate and sophisticated scheme’ aimed at dismissing the employee. Dismissed for complaining worker wins $100,000, this should be compulsory reading to know your employee rights

This case, which we detail below, provides a clear example of what it means for an employee to have an adverse action taken against them by their employer. And it will help you learn what kinds of actions are considered so. But before we get into the case, let’s first define exactly what an adverse action is.

What is an adverse action?

An adverse action is an unlawful action taken by an employer that is harmful to an employee and is motivated by a prohibited reason. The prohibited reasons are set out in the General Protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009. These include the employees’ race, religion, sex, and a range of other immutable characteristics. An adverse action can include the dismissal of an employee, but also other actions. For instance, refusing to employ a prospective employee or altering an employees’ position to their detriment.

The Fair Work Act 2009 also protects the workplace rights of employees that entitle them to benefit from a workplace law or instrument. It’s illegal for an employer to take an adverse action against an employee for exercising their workplace rights. For instance, if an employer dismisses an employee if they make a complaint about them through Fair Work Australia.

In the case we detail below, the employer took adverse action against the employee after he made a series of complaints, including one to Fair Work Australia. Let’s look at the circumstances leading up to those complaints and the reasons why the employer was ruled to have taken adverse action.  

dismissed-employee-wins-$100k
Won her dismissal case, when all most employees want is the a job. The ability to go to work, not be harassed or subjected to adverse action.

A company restructuring unfairly punishes a ‘good and valuable’ employee

Stuart Lees had been employed by multinational personal care and hygiene company Asaleo as a sourcing manager since 2014. He had been described as a ‘good and valuable employee,’. However in July 2019, his relationship with his employer soured. This was due to a business restructuring which diminished the responsibilities of Mr Lees’ position as a sourcing manager.

Rejecting the changes to his position, Mr Lees issued a complaint to his employer in which he sought a ‘formal redundancy.’ He argued that in diminishing his role, Asaleo had attempted to constructively dismiss him. Asaleo, however, informed Mr Lees that his position hadn’t been made redundant.

Excising a workplace right

Central to this adverse action case is that between July 2019 and March 2020, Mr Lees made six further complaints against his employer. This included one complaint about bullying by senior managers. Mr Lees filed an application for an Order to Stop Bullying with the Fair Work Commission, which was resolved in November 2019.

‘LOL, love your panache’: The employee sends a ‘very patronizing’ email to a junior colleague

Mr Lees also complained about his employer’s handling of an inappropriately worded email he had sent to a junior colleague. The email was regarding Mr Lees’ forthcoming trip to Asaleo’s New Zealand premises, and reads thusly:

‘LOL, love your panache never ceases to amaze me Lou; I like it !! No problems joining me for the Amcor visit; I’ll get Tanya to forward the invite to you. If anyone else would like to join us please let me know. We won’t be performing any QBR’s until after Q1, but thanks for the suggestion !’

The recipient forwarded the email to her manager and human resources, and provided her thoughts thusly:

‘I found the informal tone of [the 14 Feb 2020 email] is inappropriate for the audience copied. This is the second time he has used this term “panache” in an email about my behaviours and that time the audience was even wider. I found the tone and term belittling, when my requests are reasonable.’

Employee refutes bullying, counter accuses employer of ‘suspicious’ actions

After receiving an email from the email recipient’s manager inferring that he had demonstrated bulling behaviour, Mr Lees responded:

‘I completely and utterly refute any such inference, the timing of which is very suspicious given the events of late last year at the Fair Work Commission.’

The ‘events of late last year’ to which he refers was the Order to Stop Bullying application. Mr Lees further outlined that he didn’t appreciate the manager’s ‘on-going micro aggressions.’

Dismissed-for-complaining-worker-wins-$100,000
Employee versus employer. Workplaces should not be like this. Many dismissals end up like this. This outcome is not that hard to avoid

The employee is dismissed on grounds of misconduct

Following the ‘panache’ email, on 3 March 2020 Mr Lees’ senior management issued him with a draft performance improvement plan (PIP). This act was key to the employee’s adverse action claim. A week later, Mr Lees rejected his manager’s calendar invitation to discuss the PIP.

He subsequently sent his manager an email stating that ‘in no way shape or form do I accept the premise of the PIP.’. Mr Lees reiterated his desire to be given a redundancy. If not, he would ‘commence proceedings in the Federal Court for Unfair (Constructive) Dismissal.’ On 12 March 2020, the refusal to take part in the PIP proceedings caused Asaleo to dismiss Mr Lees on the grounds of misconduct. The dismissal was confirmed in writing to Mr Lees:

‘As a result of your outright refusal to participate in [the PIP] which is intended to support you to improve in your role, we have been left with no choice but to terminate your employment on the grounds of misconduct.’

Mr Lees was provided two months’ pay in lieu of notice.

The employee files an adverse action claim against his employer

In his general protections claim regarding his dismissal submitted to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court), Mr Lees alleged that Asaleo had taken adverse action against him. He claimed it did this by presenting him with the draft PIP, and thereafter dismissing him because he had had exercised his workplace rights to complain.

Mr Lees also claimed that Asaleo had breached his employment contract. He said that because it had failed to undertake a formal performance review, he wasn’t eligible for a bonus payment worth up to 20 percent of his salary.

Dismissed-for-complaining-worker-wins-$100,000
Dismissed for complaining worker wins $100,000. On general protection dismissal cases, courts are more than before. (sick of employers, gaming or not complying with the Fair work laws)

The Court finds the employer had taken adverse action against the employee

In general protection adverse action cases, the onus of proof is reversed. This means that Asaleo had to prove that the adverse action taken was not for a prohibited reason.

Asaleo argued that it hadn’t taken adverse action by presenting the draft PIP to Mr Lees, and later dismissing him. However, the Court saw things differently. It found that the presentation of the draft PIP to Mr Lees likely set him up for dismissal. It also accepted that the PIP was a real and substantial alteration of his position. The Court also rejected Asaleo’s claim that they were required to present the PIP to Mr Lees in accordance with the settlement terms of the Order to Stop Bullying action. It was found that the settlement terms didn’t require the presentation of the PIP at all.

‘It follows that the presentation of the draft PIP to Mr Lees constituted adverse action, consisting of altering Mr Lees’ position to his prejudice,’ ruled Judge Heather Riley.

The Court also ruled that Asaleo had taken adverse action for a prohibited reason by terminating Mr Lees’ employment. Mr Lees’ email to a junior colleague was found to not have warranted presenting him with the PIP. The Court also found that Asaleo had breached Mr Lees’ employment contract by not providing him with annual performance reviews.

Penalties for general protection breach’s will apply

Judge Riley regarded Mr Lee’s dismissal and the issuance of the PIP to him as two ‘discrete and separate’ contraventions. Therefore, each would entail a different penalty. Asaleo’s lack of contrition was considered when determining the employee’s payout. Judge Riley noted that Asaleo ‘made no admissions, has taken no corrective action and has not apologised.’

Proving a ‘because of’ causal link is key to winning an adverse action case

For an adverse action claim made against an employer to be successful, the employee must prove the action was taken for a prohibited reason. That is, because of a protected attribute of the employee (i.e. race, religion, etc). Or if they have made a complaint.

employee-has-a-win-after-being-dismissed
Employee gets compensation. You get dismissed, or heading that way, call us immediately . Subject to a flawed workplace investigation. give us a call

Conclusion to Dismissed for complaining worker wins $100,000

In the aforementioned case, the employee proved that two adverse actions were taken against him. That is, the altering of his employment to his detriment via the issuance of the draft PIP, and his employment termination. He proved that these were adverse actions because they were taken because of the fact that he had made complaints about his employer. Failing to establish this ‘because of’ causal link is one of the main reasons why employees often fail when making an adverse action claim against their employer.

If you need guidance on how to mount a successful adverse action claim, A Whole New Approach can help. We can streamline the process for you. We provide expert advice to cut through the complexity of the Fair Work Act requirements. Call our expert team today on 1800 333 666 for a free and confidential conversation. For all dismissal claims, abandonment of employment, casual employee rights, issues in probation periods, call us today.

We are located in Victoria, however we work in all states.

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Dismissed for not dressing properly

Dismissed-for-not-dressing-properly
Some people like to dress smartly, some don’t want to at all. To avoid dismissal or threatened with being dismissed, what’s are the Rules?

Dismissed for not dressing properly

Millennials are officially taking over the workforce. A study showed that by 2022 millennials will make up 46 percent of employees With a combination of younger professional, more casual work attire is becoming the norm, which can make it even harder to know what to wear in a professional setting. According to a survey by Salary.com, only 55 percent of workplaces have an office dress standard. So, what is acceptable and what isn’t? Dismissed for not dressing properly is topic worth reading.

Employee / workers rights

I remember years ago clashing with the immigration minister at the time over the rights of employees to wear moccasins to work. (the minister backed down). Being involved in a Fair work matter over the wearing of a ring in your eyebrow (we lost). Now’s a good time to comment on the topic. We have in recent weeks had several dismissals over refusing to dress to the company required standard on returning to work after working from home for the last 2 years.

Is it laziness?, or does it even matter? Or as a group member you have to fit in? I hate to mention it, but we also had some calls relating to hygiene issues of employees (cloths not washed) returning to the workplace after the extended lock downs. Dismissals for the failure to fit in is particularly high in the probation period. Who wants to tell a colleague they smell, nobody

workplace-wellness-don't-be-dismissed-for being-the-odd-one-out
Workplace wellness word concepts banner. Support healthy behavior between employees. Don’t be dismissed for being the odd one out.

Types Of Office Dress Standards

There are generally four types of corporate dress standards : Business formal, business professional, business casual, and casual. The standards have certainly changed from a generation ago where it was compulsory to wear a tie. Employees were dismissed for not dressing properly, have tie on, suit etc. These sort of standards still apply in a lot of law, accounting and consulting firms.

Business Formal

This is the highest level of professional dress attire and it means tailored suits and ties for males, and a pantsuit or skirt suit paired with conservative accessories and shoes for females. Employees are expected to maintain a high standard in their appearance.

Business Professional

This is a step down from business formal, but it’s still conservative and traditional. You will start to see more flexibility in colors and patterns in business professional. Males tend to wear suits and ties with more patterns and colors, and females tend to wear a suit or skirt, top, and jacket paired with jewelry that is more noticeable—such as chunky watches or statement pieces.

Business Casual

However, if your employee handbook says that you can dress business casual, that means you don’t have to wear a suit, pumps, and stockings every day. However, you should still keep a certain level of professionalism, no matter how casual the dress code is. Males tend to wear button-ups while females can wear skirts, slacks, or khakis with a cardigan or jacket. Employees are allowed more freedom with their jewelry and other accessories.

Dismissed-for-not-dressing-properly
Dressing for the zoom conference. Be careful there is still the inference if not dressed for business, your not there to perform the job to the required standard. It would be disappointing to be dismissed for this.

Casual

As the least formal, the difficult part might be making sure you are still maintaining a level of professionalism. Clothes should still be pressed, neat, and appropriate for the type of work you do. For males, you can expect casual pants and slacks with collared polos or crew-neck sweaters. Females have the freedom to wear nicely-fitted tops and blouses, slacks or skirts. Fun patterns and colors are acceptable with a casual dress code.

Model What your Boss Wears when you join the company

When starting a new job, it can be tricky to figure out what is acceptable and what isn’t. One way to master a casual dress code is to mirror what your boss wears. Use him or her as a guide for what you should be wearing. If they dress more formal then that’s a clue that you should, too; however, if they’re more business casual, that can help you decipher what to wear to work.

This is no different if the boss who gets in early, you get in early. If they work back late you work back late. At least until you figure out the culture of the workplace. This is what career driven employees do. If your contract says 38 hours and that’s what you want to do, that’s your right. You should not be dismissed for excising a workplace right.

Avoid Things That Make You Look Disheveled

Regardless of how casual your workplace attire is, you don’t want to come into work looking like you were rushed that morning. you look hungover, unshaven, it might be trendy, however at the end of day you have a job to do. Don’t develop the perception you can’t do the job. It brings unnecessary attention and may start heading down the unfair dismissal path.

Take the time each morning to put yourself together. If you’re wearing clothes that are wrinkled or dirty, it could change people’s opinion of you. Don’t develop this attitude of you better than everybody else, so I dress how I want. If that’s shorts, thongs, sunglasses, so be it.

The-dress-standards-have-to-be-culturally-inclusive-don't-be-dismissed
The dress standards have to be culturally inclusive

Staying Professional While Comfortable

If your office doesn’t have a dress standard, you still shouldn’t be wearing clothes that you would wear to go exercising or lounging. Unfortunately, that means leave those leggings at home. Certain standards should always be kept. For example, jeans might be an acceptable item to wear in an informal workplace, but they must be in good condition. It’s most likely a good idea to stay away from pants that are ripped, tattered, or frayed. Keeping certain professional standards in mind can help employees look well-groomed while staying comfortable when following a casual dress code at work.

When you first join a new workplace, it’s better to err on the side of caution and dress too formally in the beginning until you fully understand what the dress code is. As long as you’re wearing clean, neat, and professional clothing, it’s hard to go wrong, regardless of what type of dress code your workplace has.

And What Should I Wear While Working From Home?

This really depends on your position and your employer. You should get an idea on how to dress while working from home by taking a look at how other colleagues dress while doing the same. Is your manager also working from home? How does he or she dress? If not, remember that asking for information to your manager is not something to be ashamed of. It will, on the contrary, show that you care about being integrate in the company culture.

In the majority of the cases, it is recommended to avoid pajamas and clothes that are too “relaxed” (tank tops, robes, nightwear in general) and, in case you have to be in contact with customers, it’s best to stick to the business casual attire that we discussed previously in the article. Developers, “back room” employees, office managers and, in general, people that do not have to be in contact with customers can get away with a more “casual” look.

Some employees have been doing their zoom conferences whilst still in bed, hair a mess, pajamas on. Employers can take offence at it, everybody is making an effort, except you. This is even if your for filling your role. There have been dismissals for this conduct. We recently had a unfair dismissal claim where the employer dismissed a employee working from their bed, eight hours a day. Arguing this is breach of occupational health and safety because they were not sitting in a ergonomic chair as required in the office

Mindful of others

dressing-to-your-needs
Dressing where culturally appropriate. You should not be dismissed for having beliefs, however you have to be able to do the inherent functions of the role.

Do we have to look the same?

Whilst part of the article is dress compliance, we don’t all have to look the same. I remember a phone call years ago where a young employee rung me, because the other staff laughed at her over the dress she was wearing. Now she was spending all her pay on clothes. I said don’t fall that, its a form of bullying. I indicated it should be reported. Nobody wants to see people resigning. unnecessarily. Or her performance drops where she is in the position of being dismissed.

In Australia some 30 percent of employee have been born overseas. So the consideration of national and religious beliefs have to be considered. This is where there may be conflict particularly around the issue of dress standards when dealing with customers and occupational health and safety. There is still a level of intolerance in some Australian workplaces regardless of what the discrimination laws state.

Casual and part time employees.

Should employees who don’t receive the same pay as full time employees have to spend the same amount of money (uniforms, presentation to the public) as higher paid colleagues? It depends on the circumstances, the role, the position. Some employees who refused have been dismissed for unable / refusing to comply. Why would you spend money you really don’t have to comply on a dress standard when if you an casual employee there is no guarantee of future work.

Conclusion to Dismissed for not dressing properly

I hope you enjoyed the article, it was brief, and to the point. We are A Whole New Approach P/L, leading workplace advisors, and in all matters relating to the Fair work Australia, including, workplace harassment, toxic workplace culture, sick leave. Anything around workers rights, employment rights, abandonment of employment type concerns, call us now

Call 1800 333 666

We are based in Victoria, we work in all states

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Can an employee be dismissed for expressing a political opinion?

Can-an-employee-be-dismissed-for- expressing-a-political-opinion?
Sounding like a broken record. Dismissed for talking politics all day.

Can an employee be dismissed for expressing a political opinion?

As the 2022 federal election nears, and numerous state elections coming up, many Australians will no doubt feel more inclined to publicly express their political opinions. Social media and the workplace are among the most common forums where Australians choose to express their beliefs. But in doing so, some could face the risk of a justified or unfair dismissal by their employer. So, this begs the question: when can an employee be dismissed for publicly expressing their political opinions?

The age of COVID-19 has seen an exponential increase in the public expression of political opinions across society. Australians now regularly do so on social media, often without regard to how such actions can affect their employment.

The question of how far employer policies can apply to the personal lives of employees is now increasingly relevant. And the perceived overreach of employers into their employees’ personal lives often creates conflict between the two.

This has been illustrated in recent cases where employees have taken legal action against employers. Namely, after being dismissed for expressing their political opinion. Let’s look at one such case.

Census collector takes the Australian Bureau of Statistics to court for unfair dismissal

In late 2021, a former casual Census collector for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) took her ex-employer to court. She lodged a general protections claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination and adverse action after her employment was terminated for expressing a political opinion on LinkedIn.  

The casual Census collector was hired to work for the ABS from July to October 2021. But in September, she was dismissed after her LinkedIn post was reported to her employer. Only in August had the employer reminded the employee to remain apolitical during her employment. The employer had cited that this was necessary to prevent damage to public confidence.

Can-an-employee-be-dismissed-for- expressing-a-political-opinion?
Tug of war over political opinion, should you be dismissed for it?

How the government’s Code of Conduct factors into the case

As a government employee, the woman’s employment was subject to the Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct. And the employer had explained the relevant terms of the APS to the employee. The APS states that public servants “have a right to personal and political expression on social media.” This, however, must be balanced with the “obligations of APS employment, and the need to be seen as trusted and impartial public servants.”

Regarding whether a political expression could damage public confidence, the employer specified certain terms. The individual circumstances of the social media post must be considered, and the seniority of the relevant employee. Also, the relationship between the social media post and the employee’s activities at work. How controversial the employee’s political view is also factors into the determination.

What is the employee demanding through legal action?

The termination of the woman’s employment led to her seeking a public apology from the ABS. This included acknowledgement via LinkedIn that the ABS had dismissed a casual employee for expressing their personal political opinion. The employee also sought compensation for legal costs and wages lost up to October. She also demanded the name and report of the person who reported her LinkedIn post to the ABS. As of writing, the case is still ongoing.

Are there laws protecting an employee’s right to express their political beliefs?

Unlike in the United States, where freedom of speech is codified in the US constitution, the Australian constitution doesn’t offer similar protections. This is often contrary to popular belief among Australians. The Australian constitution does ensure an implied right to freedom of political communication. But it doesn’t protect an employee’s expression of political beliefs and thoughts.[1]

Australian law – specifically the Fair Work Act 2009 – does offer protection for an employee’s political opinions, however. Under section 351(1), the Act legislates that it’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate and consequently dismiss by ending the employment on certain grounds. One of these grounds is an individual’s political opinions and beliefs.

According to the Act, a political opinion or belief includes:

  • Membership of a political party
  • Expressed political, socio-political, or moral attitudes
  • Civic commitment

An employee’s political beliefs aren’t protected by the Act, however, if they engage in politically motivated acts of violence.[2]

Looking-up-politics-on-social media- told-not-to-Dismissed-is-this-adverse- action
Looking up politics on social media, told not to. Dismissed, is this adverse action?

What if an expression of political belief breaches an employer’s values or policy?

As stated in the Fair Work Act 2009, an employer must respect every employee’s right to exercise their political opinions. This includes political opinions expressed within or outside of the workplace. For instance, by posting your opinion on social media or attending a political protest. That is, provided the employee doesn’t commit an act of violence or destroy property at the protest.

However, the Act also states that if an employee’s opinions or beliefs contravene their employer’s values or policy, then they can be dismissed. Let’s look at a recent case where an unfair dismissal application was rejected on these grounds.

Public servant who criticized government policies has unfair dismissal ruling overturned

In 2013, an employee of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection was dismissed for expressing her political beliefs. The employee had operated an anonymous Twitter profile during her employment. And she had regularly posted opinions that were highly critical of the Australian Government and its immigration policies.

The Administrative Claims Tribunal declares an unfair dismissal, but the High Court overrules

An internal investigation linked the woman to the anonymous Twitter profile. Her employment was thereafter terminated for breaching the APS Code of Conduct. Subsequently, the employee made an unfair dismissal application with the Administrative Claims Tribunal. And the Tribunal found that the woman’s dismissal had impeded her implied right to freedom of political communication.

But in 2019, the High Court rejected the employee’s unfair dismissal application. It ruled that the woman’s dismissal had not impeded her right to freedom of political communication. And that in its purpose of maintaining an apolitical public service, the APS Code of Conduct was proportionate.

Politics-in-the-office-is-OK-as-long-as-you-agree-or-don't-argue-with-the- employer-If-you-do-you-may-be- dismissed.
Politics in the office is OK, as long as you agree or don’t argue with the employer. If you do, you may be dismissed.

Can an employee be dismissed for expressing highly controversial political beliefs?

Another unfair dismissal case involving a casual airport baggage handler provides an answer to this question. In 2015, the baggage handler was dismissed by his employer for posting his apparent support for ISIS on Facebook.

The post was reported to his employer, Aerocare Flight Support Pty Ltd, who terminated the employee’s employment on several grounds. Firstly, that he had breached Aerocare’s social media policy. Also, the conditions of his employment manual. And, that his Facebook post jeopardised Aerocare’s relationship with its client and brand.

The Facebook post featured the comment ‘We all support ISIS,’ which caused some of his colleagues to feel ‘unsafe.’ They were also alarmed by his possible actions within their security conscious, airport environment.

Making an application of unfair dismissal with the Fair Work Commission

In 2016, the employee took his unfair dismissal case to the Fair Work Commission. In assessing whether the employee’s conduct was a valid reason for dismissal, the Commission considered several factors. Namely, that as an apparent ISIS supporter, the employee worked in a secure airport environment. And, that he had access to baggage facilities near aircraft.

In his defence, the employee asserted that his support for ISIS on Facebook was made in sarcasm. And this was the critical, deciding factor in the case. The Commission highlighted that Aerocare hadn’t performed a thorough investigation of the employee’s conduct. Namely, it found that the company hadn’t viewed the rest of the employee’s Facebook timeline. If it had, Aerocare would have discovered that the employee wasn’t an ISIS supporter.

The Commission also found that the company could have asked the employee for an explanation of the post. And if he were given the opportunity, the employee would have satisfied Aerocare that he wasn’t an ISIS supporter. It was also found that the employer only spent ten minutes deliberating on the decision to dismiss the employee.

dismissed-in-toxic-work-environment
The discussion of politics can create a toxic environment.

The Fair Work Commission upholds the unfair dismissal

The Commission, however, did accept that the employee’s ISIS post breached Aerocare’s social media policy. It highlighted that it wasn’t acceptable for an employee in an airport environment to post apparent support for a terrorist organisation. That is, even if it was intended as sarcasm or satire.

Despite this, the Commission found that there was no valid reason for the employee’s termination. The ruling upheld his claim for unfair dismissal, and the employee was awarded compensation of eight weeks’ pay. That amount, however, was reduced by 40% because the employee had breached Aerocare’s social media policy.

What can employees learn from unfair dismissal cases?

The Fair Work Act 2009 ensures that an employee can’t be dismissed simply on the grounds of expressing their political opinions. However, they can be if their opinion expressed contravenes the policy of their employer.

This is evident in second case we highlighted above, where the High Court decided to reject the unfair dismissal application of the employee. The employee’s actions contravened the APS Code of Conduct, which all government workers are subject to. The lesson for employees is that they should be careful not to breach the policies or values of their employers.

Can an employee be dismissed?

When posting comments on social media, many of us don’t think twice about the possible implications. An employee’s expression of political opinion is of course protected by law. But even so, every employee should ensure they don’t post anything that could see them caught up in an unfair dismissal case.

reaching-out-for-help
Get help today. Advice may save your job. don’t be dismissed

Conclusion to “Can an employee be dismissed for expressing a political opinion?”

I hope this article has been inciteful for you. My personal view is you cannot win the arguments in discussion politics in your employment. You simply don’t know what is going on in someone’s mind. Some employers are easy going, couldn’t care less, then you set off some trigger. You can make 9 friends in the office, then one enemy that you then have for life. Its up to you of course.

AWNA can help you in unfair dismissal claims, general protections, forced to resign. Anything to do with Fair work Australia, workers rights, casual employees, abandonment of employment, whatever call us its free, prompt and confidential.

Call 1800 333 666

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[1] Dan Trindade & Matt Condello, ‘The implied freedom of political communication does not help an employee who disagrees with their employer’s policies’, Clayton UTZ, (online, 28 September 2017) <https://www.claytonutz.com/knowledge/2017/september/the-implied-freedom-of-political-communication-does-not-help-an-employee-who-disagrees-with-their-employers-policies>

[2] Fair Work Commission (2018), <https://www.fwc.gov.au/general-protections-benchbook/other-protections/discrimination/political-opinion>

Unfair to dismiss an employee for being late?

Unfair-to-dismiss-an-employee-for- being-late?

Running late can be so stressful, avoid it.

Unfair to dismiss an employee for being late?

If you run late “Unfair to dismiss an employee for being late?” should be compulsory reading for you. In Sydney last week, peak-hour traffic was halted on the Harbour Bridge after protesters glued themselves to a citybound lane. It’s safe to say that the traffic chaos caused many workers to clock into work late that morning. And we’d all agree that these workers were free of blame for doing so. But even in an unforeseeable circumstance like this, can an employee be dismissed for being late?

If an employee doesn’t have a history of being late to work, it’s highly unlikely they would be dismissed for a once-off instance of tardiness. But if they were, the employee could make a solid case for an unfair dismissal. Especially if their lateness was caused by something as unforeseeable as a spontaneous protest.

What criteria is used to determine an unfair dismissal?

Regarding unfair dismissals due to lateness, it’s important to consider how they are viewed by the Fair Work Commission. To determine if a dismissal is unfair, the Commission requires that:

  • The employee was dismissed, and
  • The dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, and
  • The dismissal was not a case of genuine redundancy, and
  • Where the employee was employed by a small business, the dismissal was not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

Most employers, of course, are likely to treat a once-off instance of lateness much more kindly than a repeated pattern of lateness. Recent unfair dismissal cases illustrate how habitual tardiness factors into employer decisions to dismiss employees. Let’s look at one such case.

Car detailer claims unfair dismissal after being terminated for habitual lateness  

In 2015, a car detailer was dismissed by his employer for arriving at work an hour late. The employee had slept through his alarm and had a history of arriving late to work. He had also received warnings for unsatisfactory conduct.

Between 2011 and 2015, the employee had been issued six written warnings regarding his performance. Also, several verbal warnings for being late to work. In these instances, the employee had breached company policy by failing to notify his supervisor that he would be late.

On the morning of 17 June 2015, the employee notified his employer that he would be late almost an hour after he was due to turn up. He arrived at work shortly thereafter, and later that day, the man’s employer met with him seeking an explanation for why he was late. The employee answered that he thought ‘the time was earlier than it was.’

being-late-or-clock-watching-is-not- funny
Being late or clock watching is not funny. Many employees are habitually late, They don’t get it, obligations to be on time and end up dismissed. Don’t be one of those

Why did the employer decide to dismiss the employee?

The employer considered several factors when deciding to dismiss the employee. Firstly, the employee’s history of lateness and misconduct. Also, the explanation he offered for being late. And, his failure to provide appropriate notice that he would be late. The employer then made the decision to terminate the employee’s employment. He was paid his statutory entitlements and four weeks’ notice in lieu.

After being informed of his dismissal, the angry employee told his employer that he will “see you in court.” He thereafter lodged an unfair dismissal application to the Fair Work Commission.

The employee’s unfair dismissal application is rejected by the Fair Work Commission

During his FWC hearing, the man offered no documentary support for his claim of unfair dismissal, simply alleging that the dismissal was ‘unjust.’ The employee argued that the decision relied solely on the issue of lateness, without evidence of other performance problems.

The FWC, however, disagreed. It found that the employee had been dismissed for a valid reason. Namely, his repeated history of attending work late, without providing prior notification. The employee’s documented history of misconduct also factored into the ruling.

The FWC also praised the employer’s actions as ‘commendable.’ It stated that the employer’s procedure ‘to deal with the dismissal contained no identifiable deficiency.’ The employer was found to have done their due diligence by:

  • Notifying the employee about the reason for his dismissal

  • Providing the employee with several prior warnings regarding his lateness and misconduct, which were documented. Also, offering him the opportunity to respond when any formal complaint was raised.

  • On the day of the employee’s termination, advising him of the seriousness of the matter. Also, giving him the opportunity to offer an explanation or defense for his lateness. And instead of making an immediate decision to terminate his employment, took adequate time to consider all factors.
Unfair-to-dismiss-an-employee-for- being-late?
Working mothers face additional challenges getting to work on time. Should they be dismissed because their children are slow, not feeling well, tired, distracted? No easy answer.

What can employees learn from this unfair dismissal case?

In the case of the car detailer, his repeated lateness was clearly a factor that determined his dismissal as justified. But similarity important to the decision was that the employer followed proper protocol to deal with the problem of the employee’s habitual lateness.

Multiple warnings to the employee were documented, and he was given the right of reply in each case. The manner in which the employee was terminated was also thorough and well-considered. However, what happens if an employee is dismissed for repeated lateness, but their employer doesn’t follow proper protocol? This next case helps provide an answer.

Casual machinist wins unfair dismissal case after losing her job for repeated lateness

In 2013, a casual machinist lodged an unfair dismissal application to the Fair Work Commission. The employee had been dismissed for what her wedding gown retailer employer cited as ‘excessive lateness and inappropriate behaviour.’

During the hearing, the employer asserted that the employee had five instances of lateness within two months. The employer also asserted that it gave the employee ‘warnings’ for her tardiness. However, it also admitted that these were better described as ‘comments.’

How did the Fair Work Commission arrive at a decision?

As it had less than 15 staff, the employer was therefore defined as a small business. This meant that the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code applied to the case. The Commission found that the employee’s dismissal was ‘consistent with that Code.’ However, it also stated that the employee’s ‘continued failure to ensure that she attend work on time’ wasn’t sufficient to ‘justify immediate dismissal.’

The ‘comments’ that the employer made to the employee regarding her lateness were a critical factor that the Commission considered. It found that the employer failed to communicate any ‘consequences of repetition’ if the employee were to appear late again. In other words put on notice if your late again, you will be dismissed.

The Commission also highlighted that the employee was given notice for dismissal a week after her last occasion of lateness. It was therefore found that the case was not accurately described as one of immediate dismissal, according to Commissioner Matthew O’Callaghan.

“I do not consider instant dismissal … over a matter unrelated to timekeeping could be sustained on the basis of earlier timekeeping concerns,” said O’Callaghan during the hearing.

keep-the-job-be-on-time
Keep the job, be on time. Keep your employer informed.

An employer must provide clear warnings before an employee can be dismissed

The aforementioned cases provide us with two key takeaways regarding dismissals due to lateness. Firstly, that an employee must generally have a history of repeated lateness in order to be fairly dismissed. Secondly, the employee must have received clear warnings from their employer communicating the seriousness and consequences of their habitual lateness.

In some workplaces, it may not be clear if turning up late is a serious contravention of policy. Afterall, many employers take a flexible approach to work times. It can therefore be confusing for some employees to know what constitutes being late. And, if it’s a serious problem for which they can be potentially dismissed for.

If this sounds like your workplace, it’s advised to ask your employer what is expected of you in terms of your start and end times. If applicable, you should also ask them about expectations around taking breaks. And if you do turn up late without providing prior notice, ensure you heed any warnings your employer gives you.

Contentious lateness issues

As indicated early a lot of lateness issues can be complex, the following is a list of some of those, that have lead to dismissal whether fairly dismissed or unfair dismissed.

  1. Sick children
  2. Feeling sick because of pregnancy
  3. Partner is late, coming home from night shift, didn’t have a car.
  4. Slept in because I worked a double shift yesterday. (common in aged care)
  5. Confused on start times because of roster changes
  6. Accidents on the road and rail
  7. Domestic violence and related family issues (quite common)
  8. Chronic fatigue and long COVID related illness.
  9. Slept in related issues (alarm didn’t go off, etc)

If you combine these reasons with general absenteeism, then a dismissal may be in the wind. Most work places have some flexibility, some give and take. Go out of your way to make up the lost time. This is not an excuse to be late again. But it does show respect to your employer and co workers who are turning up on time. The excuse of everybody’s else is late so I will be. It might be ok, unless the musical chair stops at you. Then you are arguing its unfair to dismiss me.

Conclusion to Unfair to dismiss an employee for being late?

I hope the article was helpful to you. Have any questions or concerns give us a call. We are A Whole New Approach P/l., we are not lawyers. AWNA are leaders in workplace commentary, representation, works rights, employment rights. All Fair work Australia regime matters, including workplace investigations, forced to resign, casual employee related issues.

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Legal complaint against Your Employer 12 reasons to do so

Legal-complaint-against-Your-Employer-12-reasons-to-do-so
Getting advice on the phone what to do next. The employee wants justice and pay her unfair dismissal. There are different time lines in the various forums to lodge a legal complaint

In today’s workplace, you may incur a variety of reasons to sue your employer. This is not to say that legal claims against your employer are easy victories or that all such potential claims are viewed equally by courts. Rather, that you may have a good reason to lodge a legal complaint your boss is indicative of an increasing awareness in Australia of your rights as an employee. Further the fading of a workplace culture in which an employer can run roughshod over those rights. Lodging a legal complaint is a right, not a luxury.

That said, this Article will not examine in detail the evidentiary standards of each of the workplace claims described below. Instead, this Article is intended as an overview of the workplace rights that you do enjoy. And the reasons that you do have, as a result, to sue your boss. These particular reasons are not all-inclusive. They represent the most common bases for unfair dismissal and excising of rights claims in the Australian legal landscape. This a suggestive list, acting a prompter if you will. Not a users guide. Need further details look on our web site under services, and continue to search / read under the blogs. Or ring or email us.

stop-sexual-harassment-lode-a-legal-complain
It should not happen, don’t suffer in silence. Look at your legal complaint options

Sexual Harassment

If you have been sexually harassed by your boss or anyone else in your workplace, you may have a solid claim against your employer.

In this day and age, unwelcome advances or suggestions of “quid pro quo” for pay raises, opportunities for promotion, or even continued employment are increasingly at the forefront of public awareness. Claims of sexual harassment are more than ever seriously investigated in-house by credible businesses. HR Departments routinely now maintain workplace employment manuals which spell out processes for filing and registering sexual harassment complaints.

It is important that you pursue such remedies, documenting on your own all evidence supporting your claim and maintaining that documentation outside of the workplace. Whether your HR department takes you seriously or not, whether an effective remedy is proposed, removing you from future harm, you will have bolstered your legal case against your boss by following your company’s procedure, first, and stockpiling your evidence second. If you get dismissed through this process, take immediate action.

If the issue is not resolved, a sexual harassment lawyer or industry specialist (like ourselves) should be your next step in remedying workplace sexual harassment. You can make enquiries with the federal AHRC, in Victoria, VEOHRC, in NSW, the Anti Discrimination Board. Other states have forums to lodge.

Adverse action, retaliatory Action

As an employee, you have the right to file complaints regarding workplace rights, pending unfair dismissal, wrongful or illegal activity by your employer. (general protections action) or others both internally and to outside legal authorities. (Fair work Commission)

However, filing such a complaint may render you something of a pariah internally, or at least in the eyes of the boss engaged in the untoward activity. You can sue/ issue a complaint your boss for responding to your whistleblowing or your lawful complaint with demotion, unfair treatment, pay-decreases, workplace relocation, dismissal or other such measures.

Workplace Injury

All states have a workers compensation scheme, its with the support of a medical practitioner you have the absolute right to lodge a claim. Psychological injuries are harder to get approved by the insurer. The insurance companies managing the schemes are not your friends. Many employees get dismissed or discriminated whilst on workers compensation

Accidental workplace injuries not resulting from employer negligence are generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, there may be occasions in which your workplace injury gives rise to a right to sue your employer directly. As implied above, employer negligence may provide you a cause of action for a personal injury lawsuit (or even criminal charges, depending on the level of negligence).

Tug-of-war-over-entitlement-and-rights-lodge-a-legal-complaint
Instead of a tug of war that goes forever, lodge a legal complaint

If you’ve suffered discrimination in your workplace because you are a member of a “protected class,” this may provide a strong basis for legal complaint your boss. What is a “protected class?”

It is a category created by the Fair Work Act, which describes a number of protected attributes, including:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Physical or Mental Disability
  • Marital Status
  • Religion
  • Political Opinion
  • National Extraction
  • … and others.

To sue your boss for workplace discrimination, you must typically prove that:

  • You are a member of a protected class;
  • Have performed your job well;
  • You have suffered discrimination in the workplace; (different or less favourable treatment)
  • The discriminatory treatment was a result of your membership in the protected class.

Discrimination feels obvious when it happens. But it is not always easy to prove, particularly where your boss may truthfully assert performance or competency issues that may provide a basis for some treatment or dismissal you’ve endured.

Dismissal or Forced to Resign

If you’ve been dismissed from your position for the wrong reason, you may be able to issue a complaint against your employer. The Fair Work Act likewise protects you from illegal termination.

Some of the reasons you might be able to sue your boss after being dismissed include:

  • Illness;
  • Family responsibilities;
  • Retaliation;
  • Poor performance—but without procedural fairness
  • No valid reason given for dismissal at all.
  • Non genuine redundancy

There are many more reasons for dismissal which might give rise to a right to issue a complaint against your employer .

It is important to remember, however, that you have only 21 days to file an unfair dismissal claim, so you should not waste any time to consult an experienced unfair dismissal representative to discuss your case if you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed.

Unfair Disciplinary Process

Have you been disciplined differently than your co-workers? Were you disciplined in a manner outside of the company policy outlined in your employee manual? Have you been give a fair go? Flawed workplace investigation.

Depending on the answers you may have a right to issue a complain your employer under General Protections.(F8C form)

When your boss fails to follow the company’s disciplinary policy or administers that policy in an unequal manner that results in different or less favourable treatment, you have the right to parity in the workplace—and the right to complain about your employer .

court-or-tribunal-room
Court or tribunal room, Employer’s don’t like being there. They are out of their comfort zone and have to explain themselves.

Docking of Pay

Employers are only allowed to deduct from or dock your pay under very limited circumstances under the Fair Work Act.

Employers cannot, for instance, deduct any money from your pay if:

  • It benefits the employer directly or indirectly and is unreasonable;
  • You are under the age of 18;
  • You have agreed in writing and the deduction is principally for your benefit;
  • It isn’t allowed under your registered agreement;
  • It isn’t ordered by a court or the Fair Work Commission.

Likewise, the recoupment of overpayments can only be deducted from your pay if you agree in writing, among other circumstances. There are allowable deductions for business goods and services, on the other hand, or for personal items bought with your company credit card, among other things. If your pay has been docked improperly—you may be able to sue your boss.

The workplace ombudsman is a great starting point Phone 131394

Defamation

We get a lot of call relating to defamation in the workplace. Defamation can be an actionable reason to sue your employer under very specific circumstances only. What is defamation? It is a factually untrue statement that results in economic or reputational damage.

Thus, comments or statements that are merely rude or less than elegant that do not result in harm beyond the “ruffled feathers” level will not be a strong reason to issue proceedings your employer. When a statement, on the other hand, results in a loss of employment, a demotion, or otherwise adversely affects the terms and conditions of your employment, you may have a cause of action for defamation.

Workplace Monitoring or Surveillance

If your employer installs video cameras around your office, is this level of surveillance a reason to sue your boss? What if the cameras are installed in the ladies’ rest room?

The Privacy Act 1988 does not provide a cause of action generally for workplace surveillance. The premises do belong to your employer, after all, and your boss is entitled to monitor your work-related activity. Your computer and network systems, likewise, may be loaded to the gills with time- and activity-tracking software and apps—and this is likely not in breach of any law.

However, there are limits to the surveillance your employer can engage in.

State laws will, beyond reasonable extents, potentially provide you a cause of action for misuse of CCTV or other workplace surveillance activity that may amount to an invasion of privacy.

Constructive Dismissal or Forced Resignation

If your employer has engaged in conduct with the intention of bringing your employment to an end or such that you had no effective choice but to resign, you may be able to sue your employer for constructive dismissal.

Underpayment of wages, for example, has been found to constitute constructive dismissal by Australian courts. Likewise, forced relocation or significant diminishment of workplace environmental conditions could constitute constructive dismissal. (Who can forget the boss’ order in the movie Office Space to hapless worker Milton that he move his desk to a dark, rat-infested basement?)

been-bullied-employee-looking-for-help
Been bullied, feels forced to resign. Or hand in there until eventually dismissed.

Workplace Bullying

Unreasonable behaviour in the workplace that risks your health and safety may constitute bullying under Anti-Bullying Laws. You can lodge a order to stop bullying with the Fair work Commission (form F72). The technical test of bullying is it must be repeated and it must be unreasonable management action.

If you are a worker, not a member of the Defence Force, and you experience bullying in the workplace within a constitutionally-covered business, you are eligible to sue your boss for bullying.

This cause of action requires that you prove either actual harm to your health and safety or that a risk of that harm was created by the bullying behaviour. That bullying behaviour must be the cause of the threat of harm or actual harm, in other words. Don’t feel embarrassed about going to the Fair work Commission, they take bullying complaints very seriously.

Issues with Overtime Pay and Penalty Rates and Conditions

Finally, employers often err in the allocation of overtime pay and overtime penalty rates and conditions. Your boss cannot require that you abide by different rules regarding overtime pay than is stipulated by the rules and award system governed by the Fair Work Commission. It is possible that an employer stumbling through these complex rules may make a simple but potentially costly error.

It is also possible that your Employer is engaging in Wage Theft.

Overtime pay rules are enforced by the Fair Work Ombudsman. If you think that your OT has been awarded improperly, you may indeed be entitled to take action against your employer. Superannuation is grossly underpaid by some employers, check your fund statement. Many employees don’t consider their superannuation balance, its something they will consider when they are closer to retirement, by then its too late. The ATO manages the collection and reconciliation of superannuation. They are good at it.

Conclusion: 12 Reasons to issue a complaint against Your Employer

There are certainly more than 12 reasons possible for you to issue a legal complaint against your employer.

The bottom line is that, if you aren’t sure what your rights are, or if you suspect that your rights have been violated in the workplace, it may be time to consult an experienced workplace representative to discuss your legal options. If you’ve been dismissed or suffered harassment, retaliation, or any of the other events described above, contact us now to seek justice today.

We are A Whole New approach, leaders in workplace commentary, representation. All Fair work Australia regime matters, workers rights, employment rights, come to us. We are based in Victoria, we work on a national basis.

Call 1800 333 666

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Dismissal email says “you’re an unbalanced parasite with a god complex”

you-cannot-be bullied-or threatened-in-the-workplace
Dispute take many forms. Rarely is there a clear and obvious abandonment of employment case, that’s its a straight forward dismissal

Dismissal email says “you’re an unbalanced parasite with a god complex”

Abandonment of employment as a reason for a dismissal is notoriously messy as the following case demonstrates. Please read on, there’s lots to learn

But was it a case of abandonment of employment?

A curious case of ‘he said, she said’ came before the Fair Work Commission in January 2022. It involved an employee who believed he’d been unfairly dismissed. This was via an email in which his employer gleefully noted. Among other unsavory sentiments, that they were looking forward to seeing him “cuffed and dragged off to jail.” The employer, however, contended that the case was not one of unfair dismissal, but rather abandonment of employment.

Let’s look at how the disagreement arose. The arguments presented by both parties. How the Commission came to a decision on whether it was a case of unfair dismissal, or abandonment of employment.

The employee receives a “threatening” email accusing him of corporate sabotage

The employee, a manager responsible for administration tasks, said that he hadn’t received an official notification of dismissal from his employer. However, his employer had locked him out of the company IT systems. In turn barred him from making calls on his phone.

The man said he was then “advised” by his employer that he was “suspended.” Thereafter, his employer sent him an email which he characterised as “threatening,” wherein he was accused of corporate sabotage. Critical to refuting his employer’s claims of abandonment of employment, the employee asserted to the Fair Work Commission that he was dismissed via this email. He highlighted that the email indicated “a clear breakdown of the [employment] relationship.”

Wheels of justice turn slowly

Excerpts from the email, which featured the subject line “the wheels of justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine,” read thusly:

“As amusing as it is that I’m free rent [sic] I’m living rent free in your head (and the bonus of not having to juggle an unbalanced parasite with a god complex) … it’s only fair that I give you a heads up.” “You’ll be like a trophy. Finally you will be an icon, indisputably infamous and a case study for law students.” “At this point, the combination of all the different things you have done (extortion) and the insane amounts you have done it – you might as well go for broke.”

“The downtrodden and defeated look on your face as you are cuffed and dragged off to jail for who knows how long in a bad fitting second hand suit some charity will loan you will be quite a scene.” “I’ll see you when I’m on the stand giving evidence against you.”

The employee subsequently made an unfair dismissal application with the Fair Work Commission.

employee-wondering-if she-has-any- work
Employee wondering if she has any work. Its unclear if she has a job or work.

The employer denies dismissing the employee, alleging abandonment of employment

In the unfair dismissal hearing, at the FWC the employer denied the employee’s claim that he was unfairly dismissed. It argued that the employee was guilty of abandonment of employment, noting his “behaviour and performance issues.”

Rather than having dismissed the employee, the employer claims that he was placed on leave. This came after the employee expressed that he was “feeling overwhelmed” during a phone call. This admission led to the employer offering to meet with the employee to discuss his behaviour. A meeting which the employee failed to attend. Thereafter, the employer claims he “refused to attend work or engage in a conversation.”

The Fair Work Commission rejects abandonment of employment claim

The Commission ruled that the “threatening” email which the employee had received was tantamount to a dismissal. It found that it was “in a tone sufficient to make clear the employment relationship was at an end.” The Commission also noted that leading up to the email, the relationship between the two parties had been “under severe strain.”

Ultimately, the Commission rejected the employer’s claim of abandonment of employment. Instead, it found that the employee had been unfairly dismissed, describing it as “harsh” and “unreasonable.” It noted that the employer didn’t adhere to legal requirements when dismissing him. This included not providing the employee with a proper opportunity to respond to the reasons for his dismissal. The Commission also found that there was insufficient evidence to justify the employee’s dismissal, and that he wasn’t paid according to his contract.

Given the hostilities between the two parties, the Commission decided that reinstating the employee wasn’t appropriate. He was instead awarded compensation.

trying-to-figure-out-if-he-has-been-dismissed
Trying to figure out, why the employer dismissed him, when he didn’t receive the text message to come to work

What classifies as abandonment of employment?

In the aforementioned case, the charge of abandonment of employment against the employee was effectively rendered moot. Namely, because the Commission found that the “threatening” email in fact communicated the termination of his employment. But had the Commission not determined that the email was notice of dismissal, would the employee have been found to have abandoned his employment?

The definition of abandonment of employment

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, abandonment of employment is when an employee doesn’t turn up for work for an unreasonable amount of time. The employee doesn’t have a reasonable excuse for their absence, nor speaks to their employer about being away. Also, the employee must have made it clear that they no longer have any intention of being bound by the terms of their employment contract. This results in what is called a ‘renunciation’ of the employment contract.

In the aforementioned case, the employer offered to meet with the employee to discuss the difficulties he was having while performing his job. However, the employee failed to attend this meeting and thereafter, according to the employer, failed to attend work or engage in conversation. So, is this enough to constitute abandonment of employment?

Dismissal-email-says-"you're-an- unbalanced-parasite-with-a-god- complex"
Some employers deliberately don’t inform you when you have to come to work. They set you up to justify the dismissal by way of abandonment of employment

When an employee is absent without reason, what are an employer’s obligations?

The Fair Work Ombudsman states that “an employer should make all reasonable attempts to contact an employee who they think may have abandoned their employment.” This is because much of the time, abandonment of employment is simply a misunderstanding between the employee and their employer. Often, an employee genuinely can’t contact their employer for a range of reasons. Like for instance, being involved in a car accident or the sudden onset of illness.

The steps employers must take to contact an absent employee

The employer must make attempts to get in touch with the employer via phone, email or fax. They must also document all their contact attempts in the employee’s personal file. This means including any emails or voicemail messages.

Once initial contact attempts are made, and the employer receives no reply. It must then attempt to send a letter to the employee. In the letter, the employer must ask the employee the reason for their absence. If it’s the result of a medical condition. This can be done via post or email, and if the latter, the employer must ensure they have their automatic sender notification activated.

If the employee replies, stating that their absence is the result of a medical condition, the employer must ask for evidence. If the employee provides a non-medical reason for their absence, the employer must ask what their intentions are regarding their employment.

Dismissal-email says-"you're-an- unbalanced-parasite-with-a-god-complex"
There can be a lot of confusion around part time and casual workers and their hours. Rosters and advice to employees gets misinterpreted all the time. You should not be dismissed if its not your fault.

If all else fails, an employer must make one last attempt

If an employee fails to reply to any of these communication attempts, the employer must send another, final letter via post or email. This letter must:

  • Describe all attempts made to contact the employee. This includes whether they were made by email, text, phone calls or post. Also, the dates contact was attempted, and the details of any messages left or correspondence sent.
  • State that if the employee fails to make contact or provide a reason for their absence by a specific date (determined by the employer). The employer will determine that the employee has abandoned their employment.

Has your employer unfairly dismissed your employment, citing abandonment of employment?

Scenarios where abandonment of employments issues arise that lead to a unfair dismissal.

  1. Extended illness. (local, or your stuck overseas)
  2. Injury and workers compensation.
  3. Maternity leave, back to back pregnancies’, exceeded leave
  4. Long service leave.
  5. Study tours and extended overseas holidays.
  6. Workplace investigations that extend for months.
  7. Suspensions, and the employer doesn’t get back to you
  8. Relocations that are unclear (start date, broken period of service, inadvertently dismissed etc).
  9. Part time and casual workers. Where the work seems to disappear for unlawful reasons and your just waiting at home.

Abandonment of employment is used as a sort of “get out jail card” by employers. They say. “look you just stay at home and we’ll be in touch’. “Things are quite at the moment, stay home, we’ll give you a call.. “Once the investigation is finalized we’ll be in touch”. The list is endless, but what they all have in common is the employer doesn’t ring you. Doesn’t take your call. Then blames you for abandoning your job.

Be aware there is a strict 21 days to lodge a claim at the Fair work Commission. The concern in allot of circumstances is 21 days from when? Last day of work?, last day I got paid?, the day I finally realized they are not getting me back?. Ring us, immediately, the 21 days is ruthlessly enforced regarding your dismissal.

Dismissal email says “you’re an unbalanced parasite with a god complex”

If your employer is claiming that you have abandoned your employment, but has not followed the aforementioned steps. Give us a call on 1800 333 666. Our friendly team of unfair dismissal experts can provide you with a free initial consultation to see if you’re eligible for an unfair dismissal application. Or determine what other course of action may be appropriate. We manage all Fair work Australia matters, workers rights, casual employees, toxic workplace culture. AWNA work on a national basis.

Dismissal email says “you’re an unbalanced parasite with a god complex”

Abandonment of employment, how to avoid it, click here

Dismissals, 15 options you should know about click here

Procedural fairness in workplace investigation, click here

Questions and answers, click here

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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Dismissed and the harmful effects.

keep-the-job-don't-be-dismissed
People just want to go to work and be happy

Dismissed and the harmful effects.

People want to go to work and feel secure./Most employees rely on the employer to take care of them. Provide then with work, get paid. Feel safe from injury. Feel socially connected. So when this is taken away from them it can be devastating. State and federal governments have studies for anything and everything. If a insect is suffering in the bush somewhere there’s money and resources for it. There has been no large scale study on the impact of employees losing their job. If there was then government’s would have to deal with it, resole it. Just leave it alone seems the answer. The 2022 election campaign. No promise by either side to look at the issue. Dismissed and the harmful effects, I’m prepared to discuss the problem head on.

You have been dismissed

Let’s imagine a scenario. You were a hard-working employee at your stable job. You had a positive working relationship with your colleague. You’re dedicated to your role that you would go above and beyond to fulfill your duty. You had never received any negative feedback or warning. You thought you would be staying in this position for a while. Then out of nowhere, you were called into a meeting in the middle of work.

You walked into the meeting room and saw your manager’s face. Maybe HR was there too. You quickly sensed the intense and serious atmosphere, as if something bad was coming. “Oh no,” you thought, “did I do something wrong to upset the manager? I wouldn’t be fired, would I?”

Your employment has been terminated

Stressed and worried, you sat down and prepared yourself for the worst. What happened next just became a blur to you. Words started to come out of their mouths. “Unfortunately…regret to inform you…after careful consideration…your employment has been terminated…” You were shocked, you did not really see it coming. You tried to process what was happening, only to realise a few moments later that you had been dismissed. Your whole world had been shaken upside down. After the initial shock, you were hit with the mixed emotions after realizing losing your job, including the feeling of embarrassment, humiliation, stress and anxiety.

You may find the simulated scenario not very far from real-life experiences. Unfortunately, the above scenario occurs on a daily basis for employees, with thousands of people being dismissed from their job suddenly. Being dismissed from a job is ranked 8th among the top 10 most stressful life events. It comes with a lot of adverse effects particularly in one’s financial and mental health aspects.

Dismissed-and-the-harmful-effects.
All dismissals are terrible

Financial impact

Losing your job means losing your income. For many people, this can be life-threatening as they rely solely on their salary to support their living expenses. Survival becomes an issue, when you still have to pay for food, for rent, for bills without income. You can only rely on your savings to support living for so long – once your saving runs out, putting food on the table would be such a struggle.

In fact, for many young workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck, financial strains would become an issue quickly after being sacked. For people with mortgages, they encounter the additional stress of not being able to make mortgage or debt repayment, in the fear of having their mortgage defaulted and having their homes being taken away.

Government unemployment support may be available to some, particularly the JobSeeker scheme implemented since the start of the pandemic. However, a single unemployed person is only entitled to $565.70 JobSeeker Payment per fortnight. For many people, this amount of payment only suffices the bare minimum of living expenses, not to mention the ongoing inflation that hikes up product prices.

The JobSeeker scheme also imposes an obligation on beneficiaries to actively engage in job seeking activities and accept any offer of suitable paid work. This can impose pressure on workers to accept job opportunities that are not a fit for their skill sets.

Mental health

Being dismissed from a job can trigger many negative emotions that detrimentally impact your mental wellbeing. Firstly, the anger and humiliation that come from being fired from a job suddenly. For some, they may be fired unlawfully due to prejudices or discrimination held by their employers. For others, they may have foreseen the dismissal with their unsatisfactory job performances or misconducts.

Even so, they can still experience shock and anger triggered by the sudden termination of their employment despite seeing it coming. Since dismissal includes losing something valuable like a job or stable income, mourning and losses also frequently occur. That is, people tend to also experience grief after being terminated.

Aricia Shaffer, a career counsellor and former psychotherapist, commented on grief related to losing one’s job:

Grief can be a very real response. The depth of the grief and how it plays out depends on the individual’s reliance on their work environment for their sense of worth as well as for their social needs. If work is their entire life, it can be devastating

Aricia Shaffer
Dismissed-and-the-harmful-effects.
Dismissed, on the way out

There is a level of grief

Grief can open the floodgate for many other negative emotions. Self-doubt and insecurity start to surface. Being dismissed gives a hint that “you are not good enough” for the position, which can lead to a sense of failure and self-doubt. Self-doubt when viewed in a positive way, can be utilized for self-reflection to improve one’s skills or performance. However, self-doubt coupled with the crippling stress and grief can lead oneself to the deep rabbit hole of depression. Studies have found that the symptoms of depression and anxiety are significantly greater for unemployed people than the employed.

In fact, dismissal can be a cause generating mental health issues. Many signs of mild depression are common among people who had been dismissed, including social isolation, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and loss of motivation and interest. If left untreated, these signs can quickly develop into clinical depression that have a long-term impact on one’s health.

The feeling of fear when your dismissed

Fear is also a common emotion felt by many people who lose their job, led by uncertainty about the future. Particularly, a job provides one with a secured income and a stable routine. With these things being taken away, it is natural for a person to experience emotions such as anxiety and panics.

Many people reflect this in the inability to get out of bed, following the lose of the job. when its stating the obvious, you should be up looking for work, going to the doctors whatever.

Taking legal actions

Some people may feel like they have been dismissed unfairly, which can actually be the case if their employers have not followed proper procedure to dismiss them or provide valid reasons for their dismissal. People would feel the need to defend their rights and restore justice by pursuing legal actions against their former employer.

Whether legal action would be appropriate will depend on the circumstances surrounding the dismissal, for example, was the dismissal harsh, unjust or unfair or was the employee being terminated wrongfully for a protected reason. It must be noted that despite having a claim, not everyone would be able to afford to bring legal claims against the employer – it can be costly for someone who just has lost a stable income, alongside with more stress when one associates with commencing legal actions.

Future Job hunting

Being dismissed can take a tremendous toll on your confidence in your skills and work capability. Many people face the stress about seeking future employment after being terminated, as they fear that the termination was an indication of their poor job performance, or that their future employer would not want to hire someone who has been fired from their last job.

Whether they can be rehired or not can be dependent on their luck or the demand in the current labour market. These are external factors outside of jobseeker’s control, which can add to their anxiety and stress if they are not able to secure a job. And as time passes, with job seekers being out of work for longer, they may find it even harder to secure another employment. They would also be questioned about the gap in their employment history by future recruiters, placing them in a more disadvantaged situation for being picked for any positions.

Less secured employment

Statistics show that people with less secured types of employment are more likely to be dismissed among other employees. For instance, casual workers account for two-thirds of people who lost a job during the early pandemic. People with less secured type of employment are easier to be terminated because employers would face fewer restrictions in dismissing those employees. Those employees would also have less protection for their work rights.

Small businesses are given greater discretion in dismissing an employee under the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, under which an employer can dismiss any employee without notice or warning on the reasonable belief of serious misconduct. As a result, employees from small businesses are at higher risk of being sacked.

Race and ethnicity implication

Racism is still well and alive in Australia. Racism can still be the basis for some employment termination, although employers would attempt to cover up the dismissal with other excuses. A diversity report in March 2022 finds that 43% of non-white employees commonly encounter racism at work in Australia, with some of the racial prejudices coming from their employer. Ethnic workers are at a greater risk of unfair treatment and being unreasonably or harshly sacked by their employers.

Racism continues to place an additional burden on ethnic workers post dismissal. Dismissed and the harmful effects everybody. They would face extra difficulty in accessing government support for unemployment due to language barrier or visa status. They can be staying in Australia illegal or in the fear that pursuing legal action would affect their stay in Australia. As a result, ethnic workers are more hesitant in pursuing legal actions to protect their rights.

Compared to white workers, ethnic jobseekers would be less favourable in being selected for future employment positions due to racial prejudice in addition to their history of being sacked. All the adverse consequences of being sacked, including financial struggles, the toll on mental health, and decrease in future job aspects can intersect with the element of ethnicity in disproportionately affecting workers of diverse racial or ethical backgrounds.

reaching-out-for-help
Reach out for help, nothing wrong with that

Conclusion to Dismissed and the harmful effects.

I hope this article “dismissed and the harmful effects” has been helpful to you. The article is not very cheerful, but it demonstrates, understands the feelings you have. The anxiety you have, you are not alone. The feelings can be normal for the circumstances you find yourself in. I have a saying, “its not what happens to you in life that defines people of character its what you do about it”. Now I know not everybody has my DNA, but you have to try.

Of course you are always welcome to call me and discuss aspects. My names Gary Pinchen, I have been representing workers and their rights for the last 20 plus years. Any issues around abandonment of employment, casual employee rights, workers rights, adverse action. Redundancy, forced tp resign. Give me a call. Its free, prompt and accurate. We are not here to lead you astray. (We leave that to others.). Call 1800 333 666

We are based in Victoria, but work in all states.

Places to get lodge claim, get assistance.

Fair work Commission, click here, Legal Aid Victoria , click here, Legal Aid, NSW,. click here

Federal court, click here

Fair work Ombudsman, click here

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