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A very personal dismissal

Published February 18, 2016 Author: servian

An employee who revealed personal information regarding his boss and the business to a competitor has been found to have been fairly dismissed.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) heard there was a mutual agreement between both parties that the employee’s employment would end on 31 December 2015.  During the notice period, the employer allegedly gave permission and encouraged the employee to seek alternative employment.

As a result, the employee used his work email to send an email to one of his employer’s competitors. This email allegedly claimed:

  • his boss had left his wife and had an affair with the office manager
  • his boss had become increasingly difficult and unpleasant
  • the business had recently lost one of its biggest assets and his boss was struggling as a result.

When the employer confronted the employee about the email, the employee initially denied ever sending it. The employer, therefore, carried out an investigation and subsequently terminated the employee for serious misconduct.

The employer allegedly provided the FWC with evidence that the employee’s accusations were false and derogatory – not to mention highly inappropriate to share with a competitor. He also highlighted to the FWC that sharing the personal information regarding the loss of an account was damaging to his company’s image.

The FWC agreed the dismissal was fair and stated “this was not a case of passing comments of a critical nature to friends or family in private. This is a case where work emails were used to communicate with another employer in the same industry. The employer had reasonable grounds for perceiving this to be slanderous and damaging to his business. The employer had reasonable grounds for concluding that it was serious misconduct”.

Defining what can reasonably be considered serious misconduct is tricky. Employsure can advise on all aspects of managing misconduct within your workplace. If you have any questions, give us a call today on 1300 651 415 to speak to a professional.

Sourced via Sunshine Coast Daily

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