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Employment Law – Background

The Federal Court has rejected a high earning employee’s claim that her employer engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when the media company told her that her new role would be “long-term”.

Employment Law – Facts

In essence:

  • Nunn Media dismissed their head of strategy during her probationary period, alleging she was often late and the quality of her work did not meet their standards
  • However, the employee claimed that Nunn Media had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct because when recruiting her they said if she was hired, it would be a “long-term” commitment
  • She claimed that she was dismissed because she made a complaint about a director’s work performance and took personal leave for illness
  • To support her claim she relied on an email from the managing director to another employee which said “WTF (what the f***) in response to the employee informing Nunn Media that she required time off to see a doctor.

Employment Law – Decision

The Federal Circuit Court:

  • found that the managing director’s “WTF” remark was not “evidence that the illness or injury of the [employee] or that she was taking leave was a reason for the termination of her employment”, it was merely an expression of exasperation.
  • found that by the time the managing director had made that remark, he had already taken steps to replace the employee.
  • stated that the employee had demonstrated unsatisfactory performance in three company projects and the “only reason” the managing director dismissed her was because he believed she was unable to perform in her role.
  • held that Nunn Media had not engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct
  • believed that the employee had left her previous job because she was about to become redundant and there was “significant financial incentive”, being a $55,000 a year salary increase, to take the role at Nunn Media.

The decision is available for you to read through the hyperlink:

Maxutova v Nunn Media Pty Ltd [2017] FCCA 2336 (26 September 2017)

Employment Law – Tips for Employers

Our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends employers:

  • review this employment law decision
  • seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to understand the impacts of this employment law decision
  • fairly, consistently and lawfully respond to breaches of employment contracts and employment law policies
  • be mindful about what statements are made to employees either upon commencement or during their employment which could be misleading
  • understand what employment laws apply at your workplace

Employment Law – More Information

Please call the leading employment lawyers in Parramatta, the Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team on 9635-7966 to speak with one of our employment lawyers.