Company ordered to pay employee $100k due to unlawful adverse action

The company apparently committed two contraventions to the Fair Work Act 2009

Company ordered to pay employee $100k due to unlawful adverse action

A former sourcing manager of a hygiene products manufacturer has won over $98,000 in compensation and penalties after his employer carried out unlawful adverse action against him. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in December 2021 found that the employer took adverse action against the victim for a prohibited reason under the Fair Work Act of 2009, according to a publication from the Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.

It stemmed from an incident in July 2019 when the employee requested for a formal redundancy but was denied.

Later on, the victim fled a stop bullying application in the Fair Work Commission that accused the company's executive general manager of supply of bullying - a case that was later settled at a conciliation conference.

Months later, however, between November 2019 and February 2021, several complaints were filed against the victim from other managers and other employees. They alleged that the victim was arrogant, rude, belittling, and unhelpful.

The company raised the matter with the employee on March 3 and gave him a draft performance improvement plan for his input.

Further discussion about his alleged behaviour, however, did not push through on May 10 as the employee rejected the invitation from his employer and reiterated his request to be made redundant.

After this, the employee was terminated for not showing up at the performance improvement plan process.

Read more: Record-breaking fine for business breaching Fair Work Act

In the employee's claim to court, he said that the company took adverse action against him for exercising his workplace right to complain. In addition, he also alleged that the company breached his contract after it failed to undertake performance reviews since 2018.

In its decision, the court sided with the employee and said his employer violated the section 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 by taking adverse action against the victim after they presented him with a performance improvement plan on March 3, and then dismissing him eight days later.

The court also agreed with the employee's claim that the employer violated the contract of employment for failing to conduct annual performance reviews.

It then ordered the court to pay the employee a total of $98,872.06, including compensation for the employee and appropriate penalty that totalled $66,150.

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