The Productivity Commission, which can almost always be counted on to issue recommendations which are consistent with the objectives of the government of the day, has issued a report about industrial relations which appears entirely intended to favour small and large employers at the cost of security and safety of employment for Australian employees. Its work might as well be assigned to the HR Nicholls Society for all of the objective wisdom which ever comes out of it.
It has proposed removing reinstatement as the primary remedy for unfair dismissal, which is the least offensive of its recommendations since it correctly has identified, presumably by chance, that reinstatement is almost never ordered as an unfair dismissal remedy. It is also proposing that compensation for a proven unfair dismissal only be available in cases where employees are dismissed without “reasonable evidence of persistent underperformance or serious misconduct”.
It recommends that where an employer errs in failing to apply decent standards of fairness in investigations and in its procedures leading to a an unfair dismissal, the remedy should be limited to counselling the employer, so that next time the employer can achieve exactly the same unfair dismissal without a penalty of any kind at all. Really!
The PR has condemned adverse action claims, and proposed an arbitrary cap on the power of the Federal Court of Australia if you don’t mind, a body which is constituted only be the finest lawyers and jurists, to compensate the victims of unlawful conduct by employers, apparently on the basis that awarding compensation for unlawful conduct by employers is a risk to national productivity. But so are occupational safety and health laws, and workers compensation, and superannuation and so forth.
The Productivity Commission, and those who use it for advocating a social and political position, should take a good look at themselves. But really, what is the point?