Reducing shifts may be unfair dismissal

The Fair Work Commission has held a reduction of a casual employee’s regular shifts by 75 per cent following a cash handling discrepancy was a repudiation of the employment and thus at the election of the employee by accepting the repudiation and resigning constituted the dismissal of the employee.

The employee claimed that she had been dismissed when her allocated shifts were unilaterally reduced following an investigation into a $100 cash discrepancy.

The employer, a licensed club, alleged that the employee had orally resigned during a meeting after being informed that she her shifts would be reduced and she would be required to undergo further training.

Finding that it was the actions of the employer not the employee which brought the employment to an end, Commissioner Cambridge determined that the employee had been unfairly dismissed and awarded her compensation of 13 weeks’ pay – the full amount sought by the employee as she was planning on leaving her casual job within 3 months due to pregnancy.

Roxanna Balgowan v City of Sydney RSL and Community Club Ltd (2017) FWC 3798 per Cambridge C