Viewing entries tagged
fair work act 2009

Workplace Dismissal - Who do you believe?

But I’m telling the truth!

What happens when the parties to a case have varying accounts of what was said and done? Who is to be believed?

In the matter of Ashley Duddington v Mario and Clara Enterprises Pty Ltd and Morgan Trading Pty Ltd, a former restaurant manager made an unfair dismissal claim against his former employer.

The parties, who were not legally represented, provided very different versions of the events that took place leading up to the termination.

Without any physical evidence to prove what actually happened, the responsibility fell on Deputy President Bull to establish the truth.

In his judgment, Deputy President Bull noted that he had significant difficulty with the employer’s evidence, which he described as “contradictory and evasive” and noted that clear answers were not provided to some of the questions asked.

As a consequence, Deputy President Bull made the decision to accept the evidence of the employee whenever the evidence of the parties was in conflict.  

The Commission found that the employee was unfairly dismissed without notice or a valid reason and made orders for each party to make submissions about the compensation to be awarded.

The best lesson to learn here is to put everything in writing! The Fair Work Commission is not bound by the rules of evidence, but help yourself and help your case and take notes of everything that is said and done when it comes to performance management and disciplinary matters.

If all else fails, you will need to rely on detailed submissions and oral evidence; this is where an experienced legal representative can help! If you are an employee or an employer in an unfair dismissal or general protections claim, call the Workplace Relations team at Nevett Ford on 9614 7111 to answer all your questions.


Overworked and Underpaid: The reality behind George Calombaris’ Greek tragedy

In a brilliant piece of spin worthy of an election campaign, George Calombaris openly admitted to underpaying past and present employees over $2.9 million – and has maintained his positive public image.

From the papers to The Project, the popular Masterchef appeared everywhere, apologised for profiting from his workers and continued to accept bookings at his numerous Greek restaurants across Melbourne.

You would be forgiven for thinking that it’s all that easy – underpay, apologise, back to business as usual – but be warned, this is the exception, not the rule. 

Businesses that are found to breach the Fair Work Act 2009 are liable to penalties of up to $54,000 for corporations, per breach. This means that if you underpay 100 employees, you are liable to 100 lots of penalties. Directors also face penalties of upon $10,800 per breach.  

Last year, the Fair Work Ombudsman recovered more than $2.2 million dollars in penalties alone for underpaid employees.

For George Calombaris’ Made Establishment empire, the repayments will be made quickly and easily, as the investors in the business have continued to pledge their financial support for the company.

Other businesses are not so lucky and have had to enter into voluntary administration after being ordered to back-pay their workers.

If you are unsure of how much to pay your employees in order to fulfil your obligations under the relevant employment contract, modern award or enterprise bargaining agreement, talk to someone who knows the answer! Contact the workplace relations team at Nevett Ford for all your employment law questions on (03) 9614 7111.