Unfair dismissal finding for failure to give employee opportunity to respond

Unfair dismissal finding for failure to give employee opportunity to respond

AN employee not afforded the opportunity to respond to allegations relating to lack of honesty in her employment tasks was considered to be unfairly dismissed and compensation was awarded.

The employee had worked with the employer for more than eight years in differing roles. Her latest position was in administration work, where she was responsible for answering telephones, invoicing customers, managing the payroll for the branch and reconciling some accounts.

She was accused of dishonesty relating to timecards and invoicing of customers and was dismissed.

The Industrial Relations Commission found that although the employer had organised an "investigation committee" to deal with the errors uncovered in the employee’s invoicing procedure and time management, the employee did not attend that meeting as she was "unfit for work" during that time and on her evidence was not able to attend the meeting.

The employment relationship was terminated because of the employee’s failure to cooperate in the investigation.

The commission was unable to reach the conclusion that it was not possible to obtain the employee’s cooperation.

There was no warning given to her that her failure to cooperate could lead to termination of her employment and she was not given the opportunity to respond to such a prospect before the termination occurred. Nor were the details of the allegations ever put to the employee or alternative ways of giving her an opportunity to respond to the allegations ever explored.

The commission therefore found that the employee was unfairly dismissed and compensation for eight weeks’ salary was awarded.

Carla Paratore, solicitor - 9228 6940

Ian Curlewis, partner - 9288 6756

The Stamp Duty change for leases

AS from January 1 the stamp duty on leases, extensions of leases and variations of lease no longer attract ad valorem duty.

The wording of the legislation provides that such instruments, provided they are executed after January 1, would attract no duty.

This is the case even though the lease to which they relate may have been entered into before January 1. However, the Office of State Revenue has issued a practice direction that extensions of lease and variations of lease that relate to leases entered into before January 1 will continue to attract ad valorem duty. There is no legislative basis for this.

The legislation is also unclear in that while no ad valorem duty is payable on leases, surrenders of lease, extensions of lease or variations of lease entered into after January 1, they should still be stamped as deed –- that is $20 stamp duty.

However, there are instances where the stamps office is refusing to stamp such documents as deeds.

Peter Beekink, partner - 9288 6751

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