The notification of a dismissal to an employee should be in person, and not by telephone, e-mail or text.
“Advice of dismissal should not be conveyed by telephone, text message or other electronic communication. Unless there is some genuine apprehension of physical violence or geographical impediment, the message of dismissal should be conveyed face to face. To do otherwise is unnecessarily callous. Even in circumstances where telephone, text message or other electronic communications are ordinarily used, the advice of termination of employment is a matter of such significance that basic human dignity requires that dismissal be conveyed personally with arrangements for the presence of a support person and provision of documentary confirmation at the time of dismissal……………….
However, the applicant was advised of his dismissal by way of a telephone call and he was denied an opportunity to show cause or make other representations to plead for reconsideration of the decision to invoke a penalty of dismissal. Consequently, the dismissal of the applicant involved clear procedural deficiencies and these errors in procedure must be balanced against all other relevant factors.
In this instance, particular regard has been made for the safety implications associated with the particular nature of the repeated misconduct of the applicant. Further, the spurious defence provided by and on behalf of the applicant has operated to compound the misconduct associated with the overspeed incident. However, notwithstanding the valid reasons for dismissal, the unnecessarily callous and undignified manner in which the applicant was advised of his dismissal during a telephone call, has meant that a finding that the dismissal of the applicant was harsh has become inescapable.
Consequently, the dismissal of the applicant was harsh. Therefore, the applicant has succeeded in establishing that his dismissal was unfair.”
Folwell v Primeline Contracting Pty Ltd T/A Hi-Trans Express (2020) FWC 1257 delivered 13 March 2020 per Cambridge C