In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission an employer was praised by the Commission for not rushing to a decision to terminate.  The employee was a habitual latecomer and worked as a motor vehicle detailer.  He had been given six previous written warnings as well as many verbal warnings by the employer. 

On the day of termination the employee slept through his alarm and was an hour late for work.  His manager met with him at 2.30pm that day asking why the employee came to work late again and why he had not notified the employer that he would be late.  The employee was unable to provide an adequate explanation for his lateness or failure to notify.

The manager informed the employee that his job was in jeopardy because of his continued poor attendance.  The employee was given another opportunity to comment and the meeting was adjourned to allow the manager to consider the circumstances of the matter.

The manager then consulted with relevant personnel management staff and reviewed the employee’s history before making a decision to terminate the employee’s employment.  The employee was then called into a meeting at 3.30pm and informed of the employer’s decision and was provided with a letter setting out the reasons for that decision.  The employee was paid all of his accrued entitlements together with four weeks notice. 

The Commission stated that the procedural approach that the employer had taken to the dismissal was “proper and just, and should be properly recognised as commendable.”  The Commission also noted that the employer’s use of specialist advice contributed to a proper and just process. 

Employers should always seek good industrial relations advice prior to making a final decision to terminate an employee’s employment.

Jim Rutherford
Principal
Harwood Andrews
T: 03 5226 8579
E: jrutherford@harwoodandrews.com.au

Sonia McCabe
Senior Associate
Harwood Andrews
T: 03 5226 8558
E: smccabe@harwoodandrews.com.au