A former worker at Toyota Australia has been awarded nearly $70,000.00 in unfair dismissal compensation after the Fair Work Commission found he was unfairly dismissed over allegations of inappropriate personal relationships with other workers.
The employee was a general foreman and had been employed for more than 20 years. He was a union member and was the site delegate. He had been in numerous positions of power and authority over the years with the company.
All allegation of misconduct between the employee and a female colleague had been made. He was dismissed after the employer found that he improperly exercised his power and authority in his position. The employer stated that had he heavily favoured the female colleague he was having a relation with. He granted her leave that she was not entitled to and renewed her temporary contract numerous times due to the personal relationship.
Allegations were raised in respect of another female employee in relation to comments of a sexual nature he was said to have made. He denied the allegations.
The Fair Work Commission, after hearing evidence, determined that the termination of the male employee was unjust and unreasonable. The Commission held that the allegations were largely unsubstantiated and the credibility of a number of witnesses was questionable. Further, the Commission came to the conclusion that the allegations that were substantiated were not serious enough to warrant termination.
One of the main lessons from this case is that an employee should not be terminated unless there is strong evidence of serious misconduct. Further, it was potentially possible for the dismissed employee to make a workers compensation claim if he suffered a psychological injury arising from the allegations against him and his unfair dismissal.
If you need to obtain advice in respect of an unfair dismissal or a workers compensation claim, call Peter Moore, Employment and Compensation Lawyer of Brazel Moore Lawyers on 1800 891 691 for an informal confidential free chat so you know where you stand.