Fair Work Commission – Investigation Procedural Deficiencies
The Fair Work Commission has found that the sacking of a mother and daughter by an abortion clinic was unfair because the clinic failed to adequately investigate the allegations of fraud and bullying made against the pair .
- There were allegations that the practice manager of the clinic bullied nurses by threatening to dismiss them because they had left unconscious patients unattended.
- Further allegations were made that both the practice manager and her receptionist daughter were incorrectly recording their hours, such as by failing to record cigarette breaks and long lunches
- In denying the claims, both the practice manager and receptionist claimed that the director of the clinic had concocted the allegations in order replace them with his own wife and daughter.
- There were also claims that the director stated he could not “afford to have himself or his business” involved in anti-bullying application brought by the nurses at the Fair Work Commission
Fair Work Commission – Decision
The Fair Work Commission:
- Concluded that the dismissal was unfair because the director failed to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the bullying allegations or attempt to resolve the problems between the parties
- Although the applicant’s inaccurate recording of time and wages was a valid reason for dismissal, the respondents argument was undermined by the “significant procedural deficiencies” in the dismissal process, including not enough time being given to the employees to prepare a “cogent” response to the allegations
- Found that ultimately it was “underlying commercial and interpersonal factors between staff” that led to the director’s decision to terminate the practice managers employment
- Awarded the practice manager $4500 in compensation for four weeks’ wages.
- However, the Fair Work Commission declined to make orders to compensate the receptionist as she had “promptly secured alternative employment”
Employment Law – Tips for Employers
Our Matthews Folbigg Workplace Solutions employment law team recommends employers:
- review this Fair Work Commission decision
- seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to understand the impacts of this decision
- ensure that where allegations of misconduct arise in the workplace, that those allegations are properly investigated and the employee concerned is given a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations
- ensure that where disciplinary action is contemplated, in particular potential dismissal, that a procedurally fair process is followed prior to any decision being made
- fairly, consistently and lawfully respond to breaches of employment contracts and employment law policies
- damages can apply for breaches of employment contracts and some employment law policies (which an employment lawyer can advise on)
- raise any employment law questions with an employment lawyer
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.
 Mrs Nicole Webb v The Trustee for SWC Unit Trust T/A Salisbury Day Surgery  FWC 2573 (26 May 2017); Ms Lauren Webb v The Trustee for SWC Unit Trust T/A Salisbury Day Surgery  FWC 2573 (26 May 2017)