Taking leave can expose redundancy

A perfectly lawful absence from the workplace on leave, including parental, can on occasion be a risky privilege to exercise, for it may enable the employer to conclude that the employee’s position is redundant because (a) it can enable “alternative arrangements to be tested and found satisfactory” and (b) it might in itself create the circumstances in which the employer can legitimately conclude that it no longer requires the employee’s position to be filled because while on leave the employee’s duties have been absorbed into the roles undertaken by other employees. In the particular case a female employee alleged that she had been “targeted” a consequence of her pregnancy, the birth of her child and her parental leave, and that her redundancy was “manufactured” rather than being the legitimate outcome of her employer restructuring its operations. She lost.
Poppy v Service to Youth Council Incorporated (2014) FCA 656 delivered 20 June 2014