Worker cries foul after being dismissed over 'very unhappy' client

Employer argues worker has long 'underperformed' in workplace

Worker cries foul after being dismissed over 'very unhappy' client

The Fair Work Commission recently dealt with an unfair dismissal case involving a worker terminated from his employment because of poor performance resulting in a "very unhappy" customer and loss of huge revenue. 

The employer contended that prior to the dismissal, there had been multiple serious issues and several warnings regarding the worker's performance to which the worker did not take seriously. 

'Substandard work performance' 

Around 4 October 2022, the employer called the worker into the company's Gladstone branch to discuss several issues regarding his performance.

During that time, the employer notified the worker that a key customer was very unhappy with the lack of responsiveness from the worker, hence, leading the client to choose a different supplier.  

"She stated that they were very unhappy with the [worker’s] service because he was constantly chasing them for quotes and plans, because the [worker] had declined to perform works for the client," the Commission noted.

The employer further argued that such conduct from the worker was serious as it caused a significant loss of a client and massive revenue for the company.

After such an incident, the employer asked the worker if there were any more issues that the management should know about, considering that previous discussions had already been conducted concerning the substandard work performance of the worker.

The employer also suggested that the worker be transferred to a site-based role, to which the worker noted that this was not his preference.

Despite such claims from the employer, the worker argued that there were no issues with his work performance and the allegations from the employer were only total fabrication.

"He states that he was dismissed due to not going away to a position in the US," the FWC noted.

The worker also denied being aware of any of his performance issues claiming that he has always behaved professionally and has received positive feedback from his managers.

HRD previously reported about an unfair dismissal claim relating to an employee who questioned her dismissal over a client’s “preference.” It then turned out to be an inherent requirement of her employment contract.

In another story, a law firm was sued in a federal court for sacking an employee who persisted in “publicly criticizing” a client. The court upheld the firm’s right to dismiss him, noting that the firm did “a lot of work” for the said client and that the employee had refused to follow the employer’s direction.

FWC's decision

After examining the case, the Commission was satisfied that the worker's dismissal was not harsh, unjust, or unreasonable.

The Commission noted that on many occasions, the employer had already attempted to assist the worker in his role, including reducing the scope of the worker's function to focus on the tasks he felt he had more capability.

However, despite these numerous attempts from the employer, the worker continued to produce poor work performance, ultimately leading to significant loss for the company.

"In such a small team where everyone's work is intrinsically linked, underperformance of one employee is noticeable and can have a significant and direct impact on others, as well as on the team's overall productivity and performance," the Commission said.

"It seems the [worker] – deliberately or not – ignored the cues being provided to him about his performance," it added.

Recent articles & video

2 in 3 Australians OK with date change for Australia Day

Former security services firm fined for failing to act on Compliance Notice

Independent contractor or not: Worker asserts oral contract

Worker hired through labour hire company challenges employment status

Most Read Articles

1 in 8 new hires leaving during probation: report

FWC finds early notice of end to fixed-term contract amounts to dismissal

Spotless entities plead guilty to long service leave underpayments