Manager claims pressure to rort JobKeeper scheme

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Manager claims pressure to rort JobKeeper scheme

A manufacturer’s former national commercial manager has lodged an adverse action claim against his former employer and four senior managers, claiming his termination was linked to his refusal to alter sales figures to allow the company to access the JobKeeper wage supplement scheme.

The manager has claimed or alleged that in April 2020, during a teleconference of senior executives of the Australian Comfort Group (the Group), managers were instructed for employees to reduce sales figure so it could qualify for the scheme. He alleged that several days later, he complained about “being required to report a reduction in the (Group’s) revenue of 30% in order to qualify for the JobKeeper scheme, rather than the actual reduction in revenue of 15% to 20%.”

The manager has claimed that he told a general manager of one of the Group’s subsidiaries “I am not going to rort JobKeeper” and “I am not going to purposely deceive the ATO.” When he was subsequently dismissed the following month, he claims that a general manager told him it was partly due to his “failure to assist in the (Group’s) application for JobKeeper assistance”.

The termination letter that he was issued with states that the company had “lost confidence and trust in the employment relationship’’ suggesting that it was “untenable” for both parties to continue the working relationship. The company stated in the letter that it regraded the separation as being by “mutual agreement”. Unsurprisingly, the former manager is strongly challenging that claim.

In his legal application, he is seeking reinstatement as well as unspecified compensation, penalties and damages. In addition to the company, he has also named as respondents the Group’s chief executive, head of people and culture, general manager, and a general manager of a subsidiary company. The matter is scheduled for a directions hearing in October 2020.

F.M. v Australian Comfort Group Pty Ltd & Ors MLG3419/2020 (23 September 2020)

For queries about adverse action or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 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.

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