Notwithstanding finding a shop manager had engaged in misconduct by failing to account for cash sales and providing friends with his ‘family discount’, the Fair Work Commission has awarded him compensation due to procedural deficiencies in the employer’s dismissal process.
On 5 August 2016, Commissioner Cambridge handed down his unfair dismissal decision concerning a Blacktown shop manager who had been caught by his employer following allegations of not recording and accounting for a $220.00 sale and of giving a 20% family discount to a friend (as well as three more allegations).
However, while finding the manager had committed a ‘mortal sin’ of retailing by taking cash from a customer and not immediately recording it in the till, Commissioner Cambridge found deficiencies in the process used by the employer to deal with the allegations meant the manger had been dismissed unreasonably and unjustly, even though the employer had a valid reason for dismissal. The deficiencies included:
Mischaracterising the non-recording of the $220
.00 sale as theft even though the manager had claimed he had merely delayed recording the transaction;
Taking the attitude the manager was guilty before finalising its inquiries; and
Acting in a deceptive manner when advising the manager to attend a meeting to discuss the allegations; as well as
Not allowing the manager to have a support person present when being interviewed.
Accordingly, the manager was awarded $1,100 in compensation.
Tips for Employers
This case is just one of a continuing line where employees have been able to escape accountability for misconduct because of deficiencies in the termination procedures used by their employer.
If you are thinking of terminating staff for misconduct or performance issues, speak to us first to ensure all your processes have been completed in a manner demanded by the Fair Work Act.
Jimenez v Accent Group T/A Platypus Shoes (Australia) P/L  FWC 5141