TALiNT Partners Insights provides invaluable information that enables businesses to make informed, strategic decisions. Our curated insights are your tools for problem-solving, fostering growth, and achieving success within talent acquisition and staffing.

Can you fire an underperforming employee without notice?

Lack of substantial evidence leads to commission's decision in employee's favour.

Content Insights

The company operates a plant in Cooroy, previously owned by another entity.
The employee initially worked under the former owner of the Cooroy plant.
The FWC’s decision noted the employer’s claims of unsatisfactory performance lacked evidence.

Table of Contents

Information

Categories

Author

The recent case handled by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) addressed allegations of unfair dismissal made by an employee who claimed to be taken by surprise when her employer terminated her. The employer asserted it had valid grounds for the dismissal, citing past performance issues.

The employee commenced her employment with the company in September 2022, assuming various roles related to logistics, procurement, drafting, and scheduling on a full-time basis.

The company operates a plant in Cooroy, previously owned by another entity. The employee initially worked under the former owner of the Cooroy plant, and her employment transferred to the current ownership. Prior to her termination, she mentioned facing staff shortages and managing multiple responsibilities, including training a colleague to assume some of her tasks.

On November 25, 2022, while dealing with urgent requests, the employee was instructed by the general manager to focus solely on drafting. She expressed concerns that failure to comply would result in the company finding someone else to do the job. Subsequently, she reached out to the CEO seeking resolution, but due to emotional distress, she was advised to leave for the day.

Alleged issues included errors in truck bookings, procurement mistakes, drafting errors, breaches of confidentiality, inappropriate time management, and insubordination.

Following her discussion with the CEO, she informed the general manager about her willingness to focus on drafting but expressed challenges in delegating her responsibilities. She highlighted the complexity of her tasks and the inadequacy of the colleague designated to take over. On November 26, 2022, she received a message from the general manager instructing her not to come in on Monday, followed by another message checking if she received his previous communication.

On November 28, 2022, the employee attempted to contact the general manager but received no response. Later that day, she was informed via phone call of her immediate termination with two weeks’ pay.

The employer argued for dismissal based on prior performance warnings. Alleged issues included errors in truck bookings, procurement mistakes, drafting errors, breaches of confidentiality, inappropriate time management, and insubordination. Despite attempts to transition her role and provide support, the employer claimed the employee struggled to adapt and continued to make costly mistakes.

The FWC’s decision noted the employer’s claims of unsatisfactory performance lacked substantial evidence beyond verbal testimony. Without documented evidence of warnings, the Commission deemed the dismissal unjust and unreasonable, ordering compensation for the employee.

Share

Target Recruit MPU
deel new banner