An unfair dismissal claim brought before Fair Work Australia (FWA) from an employee who claimed she was misled about the permanent status of a role has highlighted the need for employers and recruiters to be meticulous when checking the details of candidate correspondence.
FWA heard that the employee was hired by Brisbane’s Mater Hospital in September 2008, as a billing officer, and received a letter of confirmation after the interview process with the heading “Permanent Placement” written at the top.
After eight months in the position, the employee sought written confirmation of her employment for the purpose of securing a home loan, and received a response stating she was on a fixed-term 12-month contract.
When questioned before the Fair Work Tribunal, Shona Grant, principal of the Mater’s recruitment agency Pink Collar, said she had mistakenly forgotten to alter the heading of the template document before sending it to the employee.
However, Grant told the tribunal she had never represented the position as being permanent, and had in fact stressed the terms of the 12-month contract. Additionally, Grant presented a signed interview form the applicant had filled out which made reference to the contract.
For this reason, Fair Work dismissed the employee’s claim of unfair dismissal, instead upholding the assertion from the employer that while they had indeed made an error, they had conveyed to the employee that the position was a 12-month contract.
FWA noted in its findings the need for employers to closely review all correspondence material before forwarding to candidates in order to avoid legitimate grounds for industrial action in the future.
Career development a shared responsibility
Urgent action needed on skills shortage
Trust can't be bought back
Employee abscences decrease
Australian's reveal their most trusted professions