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General Protections Claim, the Federal Court orders $5 million-plus


A big pay day

General Protections Claim, the Federal Court orders $5 million-plus. In a significant general protections ruling. The Federal Court has today ordered a large public enterprise software company, TechnologyOne to pay more than $5.2 million in compensation, damages and penalties. This is to a senior executive sacked after he made bullying and other complaints.

Justice Duncan Kerr, in a general protections judgment of about 300 pages. Found that the employee had established that by dismissing him, took adverse action against him because he exercised a workplace right when he complained multiple times about bullying.

He ordered TechnologyOne Limited to pay the former employee $2,825,000.00 for his future economic loss, $756,410 to compensate his forgone share options. $1,590,000 in damages for breach of contract, $10,000 in general damages and $47,000 in penalties.

The payout was a record

The lawyers, which represented the employee, said it believes the payout is a record for such a case in the Fair Work division of the Federal Court. In setting penalties, which included $7000 against the company’s executive chair/chief executive, Justice Kerr said he “twice rejected professional HR advice” that it would be unfair the employee “on the basis of mere allegations”. He found the executive chair accessorily liable.

“In the end, [the chief executive’s] choice was to stand with the bullies rather than the bullied ” To achieve effective deterrence, CEOs in like positions need to know that such temptations as he faced are to be resisted: and that there will be a not insubstantial price for failing to do so”

Justice Kerr

How much is my general protection claim worth?, click here

Finally a decision that sends a strong message

Finally a decision that sends a strong message to companies and directors that if you do the wrong thing, then you will, be punished, you need to pay. That dismissals that are essentially illegal. By breaching the Fair work Act, cannot be enacted by employer with little consequences, by paying or getting awarded against them a bit of “go away money”.

This case is clearly not the typical outcome of a general protections claim, (click here for see “what’s my claims worth“), but it does demonstrate that the Fair work Commission and in turn the Federal court are clearly losing patience with Employers.

You want compensation. Many employees are to polite to chase what they should be entitled to. Everybody is entitled to a fair go. Don’t apologize for this.

I keep reading General Protection decisions where employees have been dismissed from their positions in the most horrendous circumstances. In turn they lodge a general protections claim and get awarded say $10,000 with a legal bill that would have to be more than this. Finally a decision regarding a termination that set new case precedent as to what can be awarded. But before employees go to the representatives / lawyers regarding their dismissal, what would the legal expense be? In the TechnologyOne decision, there were some 14 hearing days. A decision of over a 1000 paragraphs, both sides represented by quality law firms, I would put both sides legal bill at over $200,000.

Historically protections from unlawful actions being taken in or in relation to the workplace have been scattered throughout legislation. The introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009 saw these provisions collected together in a single Part.

The principal protections have been divided into:

Prohibited from taking adverse action

Certain persons, including employers, principals, employees and industrial associations; are prohibited from taking adverse action against certain other persons. This is because the other person has, or exercises, a workplace right, or engages in industrial activity. Adverse action includes dismissal of an employee.

However it also includes a range of other action such as prejudicing an employee or independent contractor and organizing industrial action against another person. Coercion and misrepresentation in relation to workplace rights and industrial activities are also prohibited.

Companies underpaying employees

The Fair work Ombudsman does some good work chasing multi national companies who under pay employees, but seems obsessed in chasing coffee shops and farmers. Spending inordinate amount of public money doing so. Perhaps funding General protection claims by employees would be money better spent.

Who’s got $100,000 to fund there dismissal case, not many, but the Ombudsman does. It wouldn’t take too many decisions like the TechologyOne to bring Employers into line, and stop acting unlawfully against Employees.

“General Protections Claim, the Federal Court orders $5 million-plus Compensation” is a great article, its not about wow I want to be greedy, I want what I can get, but about getting a settlement that reflects and recognizes your particular circumstances.

Late-Unfair-Dismissal-FWC-Allows- Application
Not sure what to do? Dismissed, resignation, just wanting to know what your case is worth, give us a call. Its cost versus benefit versus risk. Explore your options

Is going to court worth the expense and emotional cost?

For some people, the pressure can cause loss of sleep, anxiety, anger and problems dealing with others, including their own families, There may even be serious psychological consequences such as depression.

Going to court should always be the last resort to bring an employer to a settlement. All efforts should first be used to agree a negotiated settlement between the parties. Litigation is expensive and unpredictable and should only be used when other efforts have failed.

Even once litigation has commenced, efforts should still be made to settle and a regular review performed to identify the optimum time for settlement. It is vital not to forget the emotional energy and time that goes into litigation, which can be more draining than the cost. What we try and achieve at AWNA is to get cases to mediation and try and resolve matters, even if this means compromise. This is not a sign for a east life. There are no certainties in this work.

The difficulty is by this stage too often we see cases where litigation has become personal. One side or the other will not give up, or take a step backwards.

General Protections Claim, the Federal Court orders $5 million-plus

A Whole New Approach P/L we are not lawyers, but very experienced workplace specialist. We have been lodging general protections claims and representing employees in the Fairwork Australia, Fair work Commission. This is since general protections and adverse action came into legislation in 1st July 2009 at the Fair work Commission.

Our claims are drafted to a federal court standard. If the matter needs to be referred to the Federal Court, we have barristers that will represent you. Ring us, discuss your workplace issues, it cost you nothing, reserve your rights. Probation concerns, redundancy, constructive dismissal, serious misconduct, abandonment of employment, whatever, we are the nations best representatives

Call 1800 333 666

Another article on compensation, click here

Maximum compensation in flawed investigation, click here

Careful excising general protections rights, click here

Employee versus contractor issue (this will effect your compensation, click here

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