Employer wins against worker who failed to attend shifts ‘multiple times’

Worker says he tried contacting his employer but failed

Employer wins against worker who failed to attend shifts ‘multiple times’

The Fair Work Commission recently dealt with an unfair dismissal case involving a worker employed in the company for nine years who was terminated because of allegedly failing to show up at work.

The employer contended that even in the business's busiest months, the worker was missing in action, which ultimately factored into his dismissal.

Failure to work on several occasions

Prior to the dismissal, the worker commenced employment as a casual employee performing the role of a warehouse worker in November 2013.

"The work involved the [worker] picking and packing for delivery of online orders made on the [employer’s] website," the Commission said.

As a worker, one of the policies in the workplace that he needed to follow was to enter their availability for upcoming shifts in an app called "Reflexis."

"Within the app, the option to select 'unavailable’ requires casual employees to communicate the reason for their unavailability," the FWC noted.

In the first half of 2021, the worker was tasked to work 44 shifts but was absent 19 times. In the second half of the said year, the worker was rostered to work 36 shifts but did not attend 31 of those shifts. 

The same thing happened in 2022 when the worker had to work 38 shifts but failed to attend 30 of those shifts.  

In its submission, the employer contended that the worker's dismissal was fair because he had multiple absenteeism records and rarely contacted the employer to notify his managers of his absence.

Moreover, the employer said the worker failed to update his availability for shifts, despite multiple directions to do so over an extended period.

Despite the worker agreeing with the employer that he would update his availability on the Reflexis app, the employer said that he failed to do so or did not meet the manner required by the company.

The employer further said that the worker was warned that a failure to update his availability could result in his dismissal.

While the worker admitted that he failed to notify the employer of his absence on several occasions, he argued that he attempted to contact the employer but could not get through on the phone.

He also said that he suffered from an episode of pericarditis. Thus, he wanted to work fewer hours daily to avoid exacerbating his condition.

HRD previously reported about a worker who claimed unfair dismissal after she did not accept her employer’s demotion that started with her missing a shift.

The FWC also dealt with a case involving an employee who alleged she was unfairly dismissed from work after refusing to cover a colleague’s shift.

FWC's decision

After examining the case, the Commission junked the worker's claim and found that the dismissal was not harsh or unreasonable.

The Commission noted that the worker's submission of his attempts to contact the employer were "unbelievable explanations for his repeated failures."

"The [worker’s] evasive behaviours and disregard for the Respondent's repeated emails and attempts to contact him, coupled with his low attendance record, evinced a lack of any desire to continue working for the [employer]," the FWC noted. 

The Commission also rejected the worker's claim that his health was a factor explaining his conduct. 

Moreover, it said that while the worker had around nine years of employment with the company, it did consider that factors weigh to any extent against the valid reason for his dismissal.

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