Unfair dismissal perspectives; misconduct

Some harsh consequences of  a dismissal are irrelevant where there is a valid reason for the dismissal based on serious misconduct.

“However, despite these impacts being real and exacerbated by the circumstances of the imminent plant closedown, they are not unique amongst other dismissed employees of his age and work history. Ultimately, Mr Graham was dismissed for serious and wilful misconduct. I have found that a valid reason existed for that decision. It would be perverse and contrary to both sound principle and practice for the Commission to re-characterise a dismissal made for a valid reason into an unfair dismissal and then either reinstate or compensate that employee simply because that employee suffers the consequence of being denied access to a future redundancy payment. Ultimately, in a case of serious misconduct, the dismissal must stand or fall on the basis of the conduct complained of and its surrounding circumstances, not on the basis of a future exigency. The financial hardship and potential financial hardship compared to what might have been do not outweigh the conduct in breach of policy or act to sufficiently transform his dismissal for a valid reason into one that can be characterised, at law, as harsh.”

Graham v Walker Australia Pty Ltd T/A Tenneco (2017) FWC 5136 delivered 4 October 2017 per Anderson DP