Flawed redundancy assessment leads to reinstatement

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Flawed redundancy assessment leads to reinstatement

Source: Australian Business Ltd The AIRC found an assessment procedure that was unbalanced, different from that applied to other employees and denied an employee the opportunity to respond, undermined a redundancy decision.

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Source: Australian Business Ltd

 

The AIRC found an assessment procedure that was unbalanced, different from that applied to other employees and denied an employee the opportunity to respond, undermined a redundancy decision. The Commission ordered that the employee be reinstated and lost wages paid.

This case emphasises that redundancy selection must be carefully managed. The procedure used to assess who is to be made redundant should be objective. As a redundancy is a dismissal, fair process should be followed and employees affected should be given the opportunity to respond to any assessment made.

Background

The employee was employed seasonally. His employment was terminated, with that of some other seasonal employees of the company, at the end of the 2001 season. The company claimed it reduced the number of seasonal employees to meet the operational requirements of its dairy products business.

A performance assessment of seasonal employees was undertaken. Among other things, the company made a decision that a seasonal employee who did not score 43 according to the assessment rating scale, would not be retained. The maximum score which could be achieved was 80. The employee in question scored 41.

Unfair dismissal

The Commissioner found the dismissal to be unfair.

'On the evidence before me there is grave doubt about the assessment and the rating attributed to Mr Wilson. Moreover, no reasonable opportunity was provided to Mr Wilson to challenge the basis of the assessment and the consequent rating which led to the decision to terminate his employment.'

The commissioner found the assessment procedure had not provided a 'fair go' all round. He concluded it was uncertain whether the employee would have retained his employment had his assessment score been revised upward.

He ruled in favour of the employee.

See: Mark Keith Wilson v Bonlac Foods Limited. PR920384 (23 July 2002) - Lewin C.

 

 

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