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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.

Wunungmurra v East Arnhem Regional Council[2018] FWC 6808 (9 November 2018)

Industry: Council

Type: Unfair dismissal

Summary: The Applicant had a number of issues of arriving late or not at all to work and incorrectly filling in his time book, involving some counselling. On failure to improve, he received a final warning letter, making it clear that if he was unable to attend he had to contact his superior and to record time honestly. The Applicant failed to record time correctly on more occasions and was summarily dismissed.

Outcome: The Applicant did engage in misconduct, but it did not provide a valid reason for dismissal in the circumstances. Other employees had trouble with their time sheets as well, and the Applicant had a number of responsibilities (such as being a clan elder). The Respondent also attempted to rely on warnings from previous years, but these were not accepted as providing a valid reason.

Ward v Reece Ltd [2018] FWC 6494 (13 November 2018)

Industry: Plumbing supplies

Type: Unfair dismissal

Summary: The Applicant was summarily dismissed after allegations were made against him of racist and threatening comments by one employee, as well as inappropriate behaviour by two others. Two instances of inappropriate behaviour were found to be substantiated, but not enough to warrant dismissal; while three other allegations were found to be implausible and provide no basis for dismissal.

Outcome: No valid reason for dismissal. The allegations made were implausible and should not have been relied upon by the Respondent as grounds for summary dismissal.

Moran v KDR Victoria Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 6144 (20 November 2018)

Industry: Public transport

Type: Unfair dismissal

Summary: Applicant employed by the Respondent and its predecessors since 1979. In 2017, an investigation commenced and the Applicant was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement in relation to the investigation, which the Applicant refused as he had been given no details of the matter. The Applicant was later terminated, in part, for breaching his confidentiality obligations.

Outcome: The Applicant had not signed the confidentiality agreement, had not been explicitly directed to comply with confidentiality requirements, and the paperwork created no obligation without the Applicant’s signature. No valid reason for dismissal.

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