Redundant Employee Found to be Unfairly Dismissed.

When an employee was made redundant during a COVID-19 downturn his employer did not consult with him over the decision, causing him to miss out on staying employed through JobKeeper payments. His employment ended before the full details and eligibility of the JobKeeper scheme was released by the federal government. If the employee had been consulted properly, he would have remained employed long enough to be considered for JobKeeper. Because of this, the Fair Work Commission has labelled it an unfair dismissal rather than a redundancy.

The employer, a vehicle leasing company, experienced a rapid decline in business when COVID-19 restrictions were first imposed in March. As such three employees were made redundant in early April, soon after the initial announcement of JobKeeper. The employer did not consult with the employees as required by the Clerks Award, so no other options were discussed. Taking unpaid leave, or at least taking time to consult would have delayed the decision until JobKeeper details were released. Other employees were forced to take pay cuts or annual leave but retained their jobs.

The employer did not meet its legal obligation to consult with the employee before making him redundant excluding access to options that could have retained his employment. Therefore because the employer failed to consult with the employee before ending employment it was an unfair dismissal instead of a redundancy.

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Written by Danielle McNamee


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