This is 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.
Brown v Oracle CMS Pty Ltd  FWC 7705(8 November 2019)
Industry: Call centre
Type: Unfair dismissal
Summary: The Applicant was originally employed in a call centre for Village Roadshow Theme Parks (“VRTP”). When VRTP outsourced to the Respondent, the Applicant was employed by the Respondent. The Respondent, after approximately six months, was directed to learn about and take calls for other companies owned by the Respondent about the Respondent’s other products. The Applicant refused and was subsequently dismissed.
Outcome: While there was a valid reason for dismissal, the procedure was unfair. Specifically, when the Applicant requested a support person, the company’s CEO joined the meeting and asked the Applicant if it made him feel ‘warm and fuzzy’. The Commission found that the Applicant had been unfairly dismissed and ordered compensation to the amount of $2,938.80 (gross) plus superannuation.
Key notes: Even where there is a valid reason to dismiss an employee, procedural fairness must be followed, including the requirement not to refuse an employee access to a support person, whose role is to offer support (not advocacy or representation) to the employee during meetings with their employer.
Fair Work Ombudsman v Abella Travel Pty Ltd  FCCA 3262 (13 November 2019)
Industry: Travel Agency
Type: Underpayment, penalties
Summary: The Respondent separately engaged two employees, each on a 457 visa, on a cash-back arrangement, where the Respondent paid the employees the minimum salary required for the granting of a 457 visa, and they were each required to pay back to the Respondent an amount that took them below the minimum required salary. The Respondent also contravened 17 separate sections of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including by not paying various penalties under the General Retail Industry Award 2010.
Outcome: The contraventions were admitted by the Respondent, and the (approximate) $37,000 underpayments were repaid. The Federal Circuit Court ordered penalties to the amount of $332,100 against the travel agency and $66,420 against the director of the agency.
Require further information/assistance?
If you require further information or advice, please contact one of our consultants.
This is 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.