Employee did not abandon job: AIRC

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Employee did not abandon job: AIRC

Non-attendance at four consecutive shifts, which was explained by employee-illness, did not constitute abandonment of employment in this case

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Key point: Non-attendance at four consecutive shifts, which was explained by employee-illness, did not constitute abandonment of employment in this case. Evidence must support claims of abandonment of employment.

Details: An aged care worker received notice of the acceptance of the employee's resignation - which her workplace claimed was in form of non-attendance to four consecutive shifts.

The employee submitted that she did not attend the shifts in question due to illness, reported to the employer on each occasion. The employee claimed that her position was terminated by her employer, not at her own instigation.

The employer submitted that the worker was terminated for absenteeism and because this occurred within three months of hire, it did not fall under the jurisdiction of the commission.

Several other reasons for the termination of employment were also provided, including failure to produce medical certificates and not answering calls of residents.

The AIRC found that the termination of employment was not at the initiative of the employee, that her position was terminated by her employer. In addition, no evidence was submitted to support the claim that the applicant was on a period of probation and it was found that the termination occurred outside the three-month period.

The commission also accepted that the applicant took two weeks’ approved leave for reasons related to her studies and that the employer did not require submission of medical certificates to support absences from work.

Furthermore, the additional reasons submitted by the employer for terminating the employee’s position were not communicated to the employee at any stage, nor was she given a chance to respond.

The commission found that termination of employment was harsh, unjust and unreasonable. The commission considered the gap between termination of employment and the commencement of alternative employment in its penalty. A remedy of reinstatement was discounted as the applicant had obtained stable employment elsewhere.

A sum of $2,500 (less tax) was awarded as an estimate of wages for a period of five weeks.

See: Kim Logan v Lillydale Lodge – Hingley C – 19 May 2004.

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