FWC grants compensation for employee terminated after giving notice

FWC grants compensation for employee terminated after giving notice

FWC grants compensation for employee terminated after giving notice

The Fair Work Commission has awarded compensation to a manager terminated after he had provided his employer several weeks’ notice of his intention to resign.

The employee ‘CT’ commenced with Quick Plumbing Group Pty Limited (“Quick Plumbing”) in April 2021 and was promoted to the position of Plumbing Project Manager in October 2021. His base salary was in excess of $140,000.

On 8 December 2022, he gave written notice to resign his employment, indicating that his employment would end on 6 January 2023. The letter included an assurance that ‘I would like to do anything I can to help with the transition. If I can be of assistance during this time, please let me know.’

Three days later, a meeting took place between CT, the company’s Construction Manager, and the company’s Finance Manager. During the meeting, the employment relationship ended, although, as is not uncommon, the parties held differing views as to how it actually ended.

Ultimately the company issued a termination letter on 20 December 2022, claiming CT had been terminated for serious misconduct linked to unnecessary breaks, extensive time spent on personal phone calls, unexplained absences from work, and lack of productivity.

Deputy President Michael Easton accepted that the employment was terminated ‘on the employer’s initiative’, thus allowing him to seek redress in the Commission.

As the Deputy President noted, in reference to the termination letter provided,

“None of the stated matters were serious misconduct. Each of the matters are concerns that Quick Plumbing Group could have raised with Mr (T) and, if they have a legitimate connection to Mr (T’s) capacity or conduct, been the subject of a formal warning and could have been reasons for dismissal at a later time”.

As he also noted,

“It is likely that once Mr (T) gave notice of his resignation that Quick Plumbing decided to accelerate Mr (T’s) exit from the business. It also seems likely that Mr (T’s) minor annoyances (such as eating breakfast at his desk in work time) became major shortfalls once he gave notice of resignation”.

The Deputy President commented that the size of CT’s wage remuneration suggested there would be flexibility in the hours he worked, taking personal calls during business hours and taking business calls outside of business hours.

After determining that the dismissal was unfair, the Deputy President discussed what appropriate penalty should be imposed, if any.

The Deputy President accepted submissions from CT that reinstatement to his former position would be inappropriate. He thought it reasonable for him to receive the unpaid amount of his notice period, being six full day’s work and awarded compensation to him amounting to $2,723.80.

CT v Quick Plumbing Group Pty Ltd (U2022/12208) 16 June 2023

For queries about resignations, notice periods, performance management, or  other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or via email to dean.cameron@workforceadvisory.com.au

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Ref: 353.0723

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