Painter with extensive performance issues fails in unfair dismissal application

Painter with extensive performance issues fails in unfair dismissal application

Painter with extensive performance issues fails in unfair dismissal application

The Fair Work Commission has upheld a decision by a fabrication company to dismiss a painter with a history of regular absences from work and unsatisfactory performance and workmanship.

The painter, ‘CP’, commenced employment with iFab Steel Pty Ltd on 17 February 2023 and was dismissed from his employment on 6 November 2023, some eight and a half months later.

The company, based in Brisbane, designs and installs prefabricated steel for both the domestic and commercial markets.

On 30 October 2023, CP worked an 11-hour shift, and the following day, he commenced work at 6 am and continued work until 7 am the next day. He left the work site and did not attend his next scheduled shift.

He attended the workplace on the morning of 6 November 2023 and was informed he would not be offered any further work. The reason he was given for his dismissal was the “numerous occasions of missed deadlines, unsatisfactory work, negative feedback from clients and disregard of direction from management”.

In support of their decision, iFab highlighted a range of issues regarding CP to Commissioner Chris Simpson, including :

  • Failing to turn up for work for 28% of scheduled days and did not provide an explanation;
  • Routinely arriving late for work;
  • Failing to turn up for work or contact his employer between 15 May and 1 June 2023;
  • Incorrectly applying paint, leading to $7,000 of rework;
  • Accessing a site without permission, with the client almost reporting a trespasser to police;
  • Regularly leaving worksites to answer mobile phone calls;
  • Unable to meet deadlines;
  • Displaying aggression towards management and other staff.

In reviewing the material, Commissioner Simpson acknowledged that CP had been verbally warned about his extended periods of unapproved absences, was given opportunities to address his performance, and was regularly late for work. He also accepted that the painter took considerably longer periods of time to complete work in comparison to his colleagues, and this caused iFab to incur significant additional costs.

Although Commissioner Simpson suggested that the company could have better explained the reasons for the termination given to CP, ultimately, he noted,

“I am satisfied that the evidence in this matter tends to support a conclusion that the Applicant engaged in conduct that was deliberate behaviour that was inconsistent with the continuation of the employment relationship by his consistent pattern of not attending for work without explanation. I have also taken into account other performance issues in being satisfied that the Respondent had a valid reason for dismissal”.

The unfair dismissal application was dismissed.

CPs v iFab Steel Pty Ltd (U2023/11755) 7 March 2024

For queries about dealing with unexplained absences, poor performance, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW or via email to

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: 446.0624

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