Unfair dismissal; trust and confidence

This extract from a recent unfair dismissal case deals with the issue of trust and confidence in an employment relationship, and its importance.

“I observe that none of the managers or supervisors who had responsibility for the work

of (or worked with) the Applicant were called to give evidence about their views on his

reinstatement.122 The analysis of Gray J in AMIEU v G&K O’Connor Pty Ltd123 is thus germane

to the present case:

“The law relating to the need for trust and confidence in an employment relationship

was developed at a time when employment invariably involved a close personal

relationship between employer and employee. The advent of corporate employers has

diminished the importance of this element of the employment relationship. A

corporation has no sensitivity. The crucial question must be what effect, if any, loss of

trust by a manager in an employee is likely to have on the operation of the workplace

concerned. It might be more significant, for instance, to know the name of Mr Voss’s

immediate supervisor and to know the attitude of that person towards him. If the

immediate supervisor had no trust in Mr Voss, it might also be relevant to know whether

it would be possible to place Mr Voss in another part of the workplace, under another

supervisor, who did have such trust. It would also be relevant to know what effect any

lack of trust by any manager or supervisor in a particular employee might have on the

conduct of operations in the workplace. There is no evidence as to any of these

matters”.

 

 

Al-Buseri v NSW Trains T/A NSW TrainLink [2023] FWC 1517 delivered 24 July 2023 per Boyce DP