The relationship between loss of trust and confidence and whether to reinstate an unfairly dismissed employee.
In Thinh Nguyen and another v Vietnamese Community in Australia t/a Vietnamese Community Ethnic School South Australian Chapter FWCFB 7198. See also JBS Australia Pty Ltd v Mr Scott Challinger  FWCFB 520. the Full Bench conveniently summarised the approach required as follows:
“The following propositions concerning the impact of a loss of trust and confidence on the question of whether reinstatement is appropriate may be distilled from the decided cases:
● Whether there has been a loss of trust and confidence is a relevant consideration in determining whether reinstatement is appropriate but while it will often be an important consideration it is not the sole criterion or even a necessary one in determining whether or not to order reinstatement.
● Each case must be decided on its own facts, including the nature of the employment concerned. There may be a limited number of circumstances in which any ripple on the surface of the employment relationship will destroy its viability but in most cases the employment relationship is capable of withstanding some friction and doubts.
● An allegation that there has been a loss of trust and confidence must be soundly and rationally based and it is important to carefully scrutinise a claim that reinstatement is inappropriate because of a loss of confidence in the employee. The onus of establishing a loss of trust and confidence rests on the party making the assertion.
● The reluctance of an employer to shift from a view, despite a tribunal’s assessment that the employee was not guilty of serious wrongdoing or misconduct, does not provide a sound basis to conclude that the relationship of trust and confidence is irreparably damaged or destroyed.
● The fact that it may be difficult or embarrassing for an employer to be required to re-employ an employee whom the employer believed to have been guilty of serious wrongdoing or misconduct are not necessarily indicative of a loss of trust and confidence so as to make restoring the employment relationship inappropriate.
Ultimately, the question is whether there can be a sufficient level of trust and confidence restored to make the relationship viable and productive. In making this assessment, it is appropriate to consider the rationality of any attitude taken by a party.”
And see Zang v Toll Transport Pty Ltd (2016) FWC 7952 delivered 25 November 2016 per Hampton C