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Unfair DismissalFebruary 25, 2016
A senior pharmaceutical salesman has had his unfair dismissal case upheld, after being fired for combining a work trip with a jazz festival.
Daniel Girardi was terminated from Allergan Australia Pty Ltd, after he travelled to Mount Gambier in early May 2015 for work. Coincidentally, this was the same weekend his wife and son were in Mount Gambier attending a jazz festival. Mr Girardi allegedly submitted a $670 travel related expense claim for meals and accommodation for this weekend.
Allergan Australia told the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that Mr Girardi lied about the purpose for the trip by stating he intended to attend a meeting of healthcare professionals. Allergan Australia argued the reason Mr Girardi gave for the trip was a fabricated excuse to justify his visit as being work related. Allergan Australia also claimed Mr Girardi did not follow the company’s correct procedure by obtaining prior approval for the trip and the alleged expenses.
Mr Girardi was invited to attend an urgent meeting with his manager on 11 June to discuss his expenses. The meeting took place, with Mr Girardi being told he needed to provide additional details to support his claim the expenses were work-related. However, after the meeting Allegan Australia terminated his employment via email on 12 June – without waiting for a response from Mr Girardi.
Allergan Australia claimed that Mr Girardi’s conduct was serious misconduct and warranted dismissal. However, the FWC upheld Mr Girardi’s unfair dismissal claim as they found that Allergan Australia has breached the Fair Work Act by not allowing Mr Girardi a chance to respond after the meeting held on 11 June.
The FWC deemed Mr Girardi’s dismissal to be harsh and unreasonable and ordered Allergan Australia to pay compensation of $29,938.
Employers must ensure they follow the correct procedures when investigating employee misconduct. Whilst the FWC found Mr Girardi’s conduct provided a valid reason for dismissal, Allergan Australia did not follow the correct procedures in regards to conducting a fair and thorough investigating into his conduct, nor did they give their employee reasonable opportunity to respond to allegations against him.
As Australia’s leading specialist in the field, Employsure can help answer any questions you may have regarding employee misconduct or the termination process. Call us today on 1300 651 415 for further information.
Sourced via HC Online.