Not all job functions required to be redundant

Cases

Not all job functions required to be redundant

Employers can make workers genuinely redundant in cases where some of the functions of the job are still required by the company, FWA has held.

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Employers can make workers genuinely redundant in cases where some of the functions of the job are still required by the company, FWA has held.
 
An operations accountant, employed by AGR Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, was made redundant in May.
 
The worker claimed unfair dismissal arguing his redundancy was ‘manufactured’ because he had made complaints of bullying and harassment against his supervisor.
 
However, AGR contended it was a genuine redundancy due to a client, Roc Oil, no longer requiring monthly reporting and had also sought improvements in systems and processes, further reducing the work they required to be undertaken by AGR.
 
This meant many (though not all) of the accountant’s job functions were no longer required by AGR.
 
The company also submitted it had attempted to find a redeployment option for the accountant, but there were none available.
 
Work relied on client
 
Commissioner Michelle Bissett noted that all the work done by the accountant was undertaken for AGR’s client Roc Oil and that if its client’s needs changed, then so did AGR’s.
 
‘The arrangement between AGR and Roc Oil for the funding of the work undertaken on Roc Oil’s behalf means that changes in the demands of the client are inevitably reflected in changes at AGR,’ Bissett said.
 
The Commissioner accepted AGR’s evidence that such a change had occurred, and AGR was forced to make cutbacks in its financial unit.
 
‘I find that the reduction in staff in the finance area of AGR working on the BMG Project is clearly attributable to changed operational requirements of AGR brought about by demands of the client,’ she said.
 
Further, Bissett found the worker’s claims that he was being victimised for making a complaint were ‘unsubstantiated’ assertions and conjecture.
 
Some functions redistributed
 
Noting that not all the accountant’s job functions had ceased, Bissett commented that not all job functions must be redundant for a job role to end.
 
‘A job can be excess to requirements in circumstances where not all of the functions of the job are excess to requirements,’ she said.
 
‘It is legitimate that, in considering the operational needs of the business, parts of Mr Gorkowski’s (accountant) job were no longer required to be performed but other parts of his job have been distributed to others in the workplace.’
 
She accepted AGR had sought redeployment options for the worker, but was unable to identify any.
 
The worker’s unfair dismissal claims was rejected.
 
 
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