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Unfair DismissalJune 22, 2015
Different industries sometimes manage workplace issues in different ways but when push comes to shove, the hardest lesson learnt is that all matters must be managed equally and by the books.
In a recent case, an employee from Toll Holdings was reinstated and received back-pay for 16 weeks since his termination. The incident involved him making “inappropriate comments regarding religion and ethnicity” where he attributed recent Islamic State incidents in Syria and Iraq to a colleague of Middle Eastern heritage.
It was also noted that the same employee had three similar complaints in 2014 that were settled amicably, or through what is termed “shop floor resolutions”.
The interesting part of this case is that the victim had himself been previously been disciplined for very similar grounds in 2013, and was penalised three weeks of work.
This therefore raises the very valid point regarding fairness in the workplace. What is done with one, must be done with all others.
FWC Commissioner Bernard Riordan, who presided over the case stated; “it is not fair or consistent for Toll to ignore or claim that the victim’s involvement in a matter in 2013 is settled and concluded, yet not provide the same courtesy to accused”.
Commissioner Bernard Riordan went onto say that since all previous matters had been settled, with no formal warnings in place, they could not be used as evidence of “a pattern” against the accused.
The easiest way to avoid similar situations and to ensure all matters are dealt with consistently, is to have the correct policies and procedures in place and adhere to them in every case. Your code of conduct also plays a huge role in informing employees what is perceived as workplace appropriate behaviour and what is not.
If you are faced with inappropriate behaviour or are unsure how to conduct disciplinary meetings, Employsure can help. Contact us today to find out more 1300 651 451.