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These are EMA’s pick of the most interesting and relevant cases reported in the last month. Please note that these are summaries only, and should not be relied upon in place of the full judgment. If you would like clarification on any of the judgments, or wish to know how a particular case may apply to a matter you currently have, please contact one of our consultants.

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Williams v Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic [2018] FWC 3087 (31 May 2018)

Industry: Veterinary

Type: Unfair dismissal

Summary: The Applicant had resigned and was two weeks into her four week notice period when she was summarily dismissed for her behaviour toward clients. She was dismissed via text message, with an email to follow, and was denied clarification over the phone.

Outcome: Valid reason for dismissal, but there was no reasonable opportunity to respond. Procedurally unfair. Compensation ordered to the amount of $580.88 plus superannuation.

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Fair Work Ombudsman v Photoplus Australia Pty Ltd [2018] FCCA 1154 (6 June 2018)

Industry: Retail

Type: Breach of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

Summary: The Respondents failed to pay casual loadings, weekend and public holiday penalty rates, maintain appropriate records, provide a Fair Work Information Statement to employees, and comply with minimum engagements and meal break requirements under the General Retail Industry Award 2010. The employees were considered to be vulnerable employees.

Outcome: Ordered a total penalty of $68,520 after a 20% discount, given the Respondents’ admission of the breaches, cooperation with the Ombudsman, and difficult financial situations.

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Charles Parletta Real Estate Pty Ltd v D’Ortenzio [2018] FWC 3286 (14 June 2018)

Industry: Real Estate

Type: Unfair dismissal – application for costs

Summary: A Human Resources Manager was terminated after, among other reasons, increasing her own salary without authorisation and decreasing another employee’s salary unilaterally as a punishment. She brought a claim for unfair dismissal.

Outcome: It was found that the employee brought the proceedings in an attempt to get revenge against her employer and were vexatious with no prospects of success. Indemnity costs were ordered for the employer.

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Tait v Spinifex Australia Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 3686 (21 June 2018)

Industry:
Labour hire

Type: Unfair dismissal

Summary: The Respondent’s client no longer wished to continue their assignment of the Applicant due
to performance and conduct issues. The Respondent told the Applicant she was ‘no longer required’ by
the client and relied on the terms of a “temporary employee agreement”.

Outcome: The Applicant was not told the real reason of her dismissal, as the Respondent did not want to
hurt the Applicant’s feelings. ‘However, it is a fundamental feature of procedural fairness that an
employee is told why their employer is planning to dismiss them – even if doing so is sometimes painful for
either or both’. Compensation ordered to the amount of $15,000.

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BE v Suncorp Group Ltd [2018] AusHRC 121

Industry: Banking and Insurance

Type: Discrimination

Summary: Suncorp rejected Mr BE’s job application after a criminal record check, finding that he had a
conviction relating to child pornography. Their reasoning was that his criminal record was inconsistent
with their company values.

Outcome: The President concluded that the criminal conviction would not, in any way, affect Mr BE’s
ability to perform any of the duties of the job, finding that the rejection of his application was an act of
discrimination.

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