Dismissal considered too harsh

In a recent Fair Work Commission finding, a Chevron Australia employee in Western Australia, who was sacked after derogatory remarks he made about Aboriginals were overheard by other employees, has had his job reinstated. The Commission found the dismissal was too harsh and unreasonable and instead called for employees and employers to negotiate a broader range of disciplinary responses such as fines and unpaid suspensions.

Currently most employers have limited range of disciplinary options and often a written warning is not viewed as a sufficiently serious consequence, but dismissal is too harsh for particular misconduct in certain circumstances.

The commissioner recommended employers consider a broader range of disciplinary actions which can be adjusted depending on the seriousness of the misconduct in the particular circumstances. These options can be presented when negotiating enterprise agreements.

You can find the full case notes of this matter on the Fair Work Commission website.