AIRC Full Bench: operational reasons need only be part of story

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AIRC Full Bench: operational reasons need only be part of story

A Full Bench of the AIRC has ruled that dismissals that are partially based on operational reasons are not open to redress by the Commission.

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A Full Bench of the AIRC has ruled that dismissals that are partially based on operational reasons are not open to redress by the Commission.

This appeal involved an employee who refused to accept a reassignment. Deputy President Richards had found in favour of the employee who had been dismissed for refusing to carry out a reasonable and lawful direction - ie to accept the reassignment.

Conclusion

The Full Bench noted that where no suitable assignment can be found for an employee with certain qualifications and experience, the termination is for an operational reason:

'Counsel for [the employee] contended before us that there was no genuine operational reason for the termination because there was work for [the employee] to do within the Boeing structure - namely the work to which Boeing wished to reassign him.

' ... this contention involved a concession that the reassignment was an appropriate one. In the circumstances, it was contended, the termination flowed simply from [the employee's] intransigence.

'The nub of the submission was that it would be artificial to treat the termination as based on a structural reason when in fact there was work for him to do but that [the employee] would not agree to do it.

' … This contention ignores … evidence as to Boeing’s reasons for deciding to terminate the employment …

'[Boeing] believed that there was no ongoing role for Mr Acworth at Boeing. The latter at least was an operational reason. Where an employer terminates the employment of an employee with particular qualifications and experience because no suitable assignment can be found for an employee with those qualifications and that experience, the termination is for an operational reason. The reason is structural in nature.

'Such a decision is akin to a decision to terminate employment for redundancy arising from technological change, for example … '

Boeing Australia Limited v Acworth 2007 AIRCFB 730 (3 September 2007)

Related

Reassignment refused - operational reasons not in issue

Reassignment refused - operational reasons not in issue

Financial reasons good enough to justify dismissal

 

 

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