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WA Employment Law - Can Employer Dismiss Me Without Evidence?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Realist35, 4 March 2016.

  1. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a very serious suspicion that one of my ex bosses might try to dismiss me in future (if he becomes my boss again, which is very likely). What i would like to know is under employment law:

    - Is my supervisor allowed to dismiss me saying that I have done something unsafe (for instance he says he saw me doing something that I haven't done) without evidence? In this case, it would be his word against mine.

    - Is he able to give me a written warning for the same thing (saying that I've done something that I haven't actually done, and therefore without evidence)?

    I wound appreciate your help very much, especially from people who have experience in HR.
     
  2. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Anyone please?
     
  3. Susan Lawson

    Susan Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Start keeping a log of your daily tasks (a work diary essentially). That way, should the worst happen you maybe able to show that you did something different to what is being said.
     
  4. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply Susan.

    This is what actually happened. I work for a massive international company and I thought something like this wouldn't be possible to happen. Long story short, after a year in the company I was made redundant, as the company was going through a major restructuring process. However, I was among the highest performing team members and the person that made this decision (boss in further text) didn't consult my immediate supervisor.

    I concluded at the time that the boss did this to create more 'space' for boss's very close friend that was my colleague. My immediate supervisor at that time told me that the boss's decision wasn't fair as I was a much better performer than the boss's close friend. Luckily, I managed to stay in the company through a redeployment process and thanks to good references from my two supervisors. Just a year after I left the department and my colleague (boss's close friend) progressed super quickly and went two roles up.

    A year later and my partner manages to get a job in the same company, however only as a contractor. After three months with the company, my ex-boss becomes now my partner's boss and fires her for absolutely no reason. The boss makes up a reason how my partner was driving erratically, even though that was an utter nonsense as my partner was driving well below the site speed limit.

    Now my main concern is that the ex-boss can become my boss again (which is very possible as it happens in my company all the time) and that she might try to fire me again. I have no clue why (as I haven't done anything even remotely wrong to this person), but it looks to me like the boss has something against me. This bothers me a lot because i love my job. There are a couple of scenarios going through my head now of how the boss might potentially try to fire me:

    - she makes up a story how she saw me driving too quickly (although this wouldn't warrant an immediate sack i believe),

    - she makes up how i breached a safety isolation procedure (for example removing guarding without isolating equipment), which would be considered gross misconduct.

    Now my question is, can she legally do something like this? Would she need some sort of evidence, like a photo? Or a witness (although I think would be capable of going that far to find a false witness)?
     
  5. Susan Lawson

    Susan Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Are you comfortable speaking to your HR department? Most have focused and now have very firm guidelines on evidence in relation to dismissals.

    The other point is to relook at the companies anti-bullying policy, which may give you a little more peace of mind, which is important because if you are constantly trying to cover yourself for what this past manager of yours may do you won't be as focused on your work.

    If you haven't had a personality clash at work before (which you do seem to have with this past manager) it can be difficult to cope with, if that is what it is.
     
  6. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for the message. I feel a bit awkward contacting my HR, i just thought how they might think it's a bit unusual and wierd to ask for those policies. I searched my company's intranet but couldn't find one.

    Would you know how FWC looks at those dismissals where there is only one person's word against another's (that is my manager's against mine)? Obviously she can't have an evidence for something i haven't done. Unless she finds a false witness, which would just be very extreme.. and hopefully unlikely, but again, this person is capable of doing anything.

    Many thanks!
     
  7. Susan Lawson

    Susan Lawson Well-Known Member

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    Hi, fortunately, FWC isn't something I have had personal experience in. But some items, from a HR perspective, that would be more convincing would be emails you have sent, or been a part of, that clearly show you have a low safety standard, CCTV footage that shows you doing something, documentation that shows you are not taking your responsibilities seriously (constantly answering messages on your phone during meetings, incomplete JSAs).

    These, from what you have written, should support you. The various HR policies, anti bullying, IT policy, dismissal process, will mention these, but few companies are likely to have a policy which lists what will be used as supporting evidence.

    If, for example, the company hasn't an IT policy that you signed, then they are likely to be in more trouble for undertaking secret surveillance of their employees. Keep a work diary, works well for finding improvements that you can suggest as well as making sure you have something that shows you were doing what you have said.
     
  8. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Hi Susan,

    Thanks very much. Based on what you wrote, I take that it's not easy to sack someone based on a false witness's word only. HR department wouldn't consider this as sufficient evidence and more convincing evidence would be required (documents, CCTV, etc.).

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Cheers!
     
  9. Susan Lawson

    Susan Lawson Well-Known Member

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    From a HR perspective, it wouldn't be the wisest thing to do, but has, unfortunately, been known to happen. That you have already been moved to another department, and your ex-manager didn't recommend that speaks volumes. Keep a work diary, just in case. Sometimes HR, like every area isn't perfect and can be placed under a large amount of pressure.
     
  10. Realist35

    Realist35 Active Member

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    Hi Susan,

    I ended up working in another department (in a lower position) through the company's redeployment program. I was successful thanks to the excellent reference from my immediate supervisor at the time (who was reporting to the above-mentioned boss). The redundancies came naturally as the business was cutting costs.

    I'm not sure what types of notes i should be taking as I barely have any contact with the ex-boss at the moment. However, what I have done already is that i created a word document creating my personal concerns for my job and the details very similar to the ones mentioned above in my first post. I then emailed this document to my address and my partner's address, as this would provide the proof of the date the document was made. Would this type of document have any weight from the HR perspective?

    Also, I'm thinking that in case my worst suspicions come true, HR would tend to believe the boss as she is in a much higher role than myself as it would come to her word against mine. Or am i wrong?

    Thanks so much for your help!
     

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