Support persons and the fair work system

This brief extract from a recent unfair dismissal decision sets out an employer’s obligations about support persons in a workplace disciplinary context, at least for national system employers.

“[135] Where an employee protected from unfair dismissal has requested a support person be present to assist in discussions relating to the dismissal, an employer should not unreasonably refuse that person being present. [136] There is no positive obligation on an employer to offer an employee the opportunity to have a support person: “This factor will only be a relevant consideration when an employee asks to have a support person present in a discussion relating to dismissal and the employer unreasonably refuses. It does not impose a positive obligation on employers to offer an employee the opportunity to have a support person present when they are considering dismissing them.”97 [137]

 

Harwood v The University Of Melbourne (2023) FWC delivered 12 April 2023 per Masson DP