What NOT to say to the FW Commissioner


What NOT to say to the FW Commissioner

A Fair Work Commissioner has berated an employer's agent for his insolence and refused to allow him to appear in a matter. The agent said he didn't "take crap from public servants" and referred to "dickheads, thickheads and wankers" in his correspondence with FWC staff.


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An employer’s agent was accused of being “insolent” by a Fair Work Commissioner and then attempted to persuade the commission he was actually an employee, with his wages being a “half decent bottle of red”.

Commissioner Lee of the Fair Work Commission was hearing an application for the approval of a single enterprise agreement. He noted the employer’s agent appearing before him had been “insolent” in correspondence he sent to the commission. 

The agent, workplace relations consultant Mr McCorry, had written to a member of the commission’s research team: 

“Dear Ms Reiman, I regret to inform you that you do not know what you are talking about.  This is not your fault. The dickheads, thickheads and wankers responsible for such abominable English …”

Unsurprisingly, Commissioner Lee took a dim view of the correspondence as well as McCorry’s assertion that he “[did] not take crap from public servants”.

Half decent bottle of red 

McCorry’s appearance then got even more interesting. When Commissioner Lee informed him he did not have permission to appear as an agent of the employer, he announced he was intending to appear as an employee.

Commissioner Lee expressed his surprise that McCorry was an employee of the employer. McCorry then produced a letter from the employer engaging him as a casual HR manager, with his “terms and conditions” being “a half decent bottle of red and lunch”.

The key element of the “employment” was that it only commenced upon the FWC’s refusal for him to be heard as the company’s agent.

Heard over his phone ringing?

Commissioner Lee was having none of it, however, and after a short adjournment to examine the letter, he declared the “purported employment relationship” was a sham and again refused McCorry permission to appear in the matter:

“And to that extent I think it is a sham and so on that basis I also refuse you permission to appear in the matter.  Thank you, Mr McCorry.  Did you hear what I said while your phone was ringing?”

If you want to read further, the transcript starts to get interesting around “PN13”.

Application by Joynson Employees Pty Ltd (AG2015/5224) 16 November 2015
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