The FWC has unleashed a scathing attack on this employer’s HR department for leaving two inexperienced employees in charge of a workplace investigation that resulted in the summary dismissal of an abusive employee who had physical contact with a co-worker.
Despite having a valid reason for the fighting employee’s dismissal, a range of additional circumstances made the summary dismissal ultimately unfair.
The moral of this story is that an employer must not forget fair procedural requirements, even when a dismissal appears more than justified.
Imagine conducting a workplace investigation thought to be watertight.
You’ve sacked two fighting employees.
But then you’re forced to give one his job back!
This employer was faced with that exact nightmare situation.
This recent dismissal decision from the FWC shows how an HR investigation into serious workplace misbehaviour can quickly go from bullet-proof to disastrous because of simple employer errors.
When faced with a violent and aggressive employee who has a history of threatening and anti-social behaviour, it is tempting to ignore established practices and cut procedural corners.
This employer was tested to its limit by an employee who tried ‘every trick in the book’ including intimidation of the HR investigators.
Find out how the employer and its HR investigators managed to stay on track despite extremely trying circumstances.
Having two of its employees involved in a physical fight at work was concerning enough for this employer.
Then having the FWC reject the employer’s dismissal action as unfair was something the employer would not accept.
Find out what happened in the employer’s legal challenge to the initial finding and what it means for your misconduct procedures.
After a tumultuous few years through the courts, an employer’s decision to dismiss a fighting employee has finally been upheld by the Full Bench of the FWC.
The crux of the decision rested on whether years of systemic workplace bullying outweighed the employee’s extremely aggressive actions.
Luckily, the employer’s workplace investigation was not in question.
Yet another bungled workplace investigation has demonstrated the importance of covering all the bases when it comes to investigating serious misconduct in the workplace.
Even where an employer has a clearly valid reason for an employee’s immediate dismissal, it cannot rely on the valid reason alone. Time and again procedural flaws have brought employers’ workplace investigations undone.
Despite acts of significant gravity committed by the employees concerned, this employer learned a tough lesson about the importance of procedural fairness in HR investigations.