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QLD Is This Grounds for Unfair Dismissal?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Spitler, 21 August 2016.

  1. Spitler

    Spitler Active Member

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    I am currently on an employment contract (initial contract for 6 months with a probationary period, which was extended for 3 months). A new manager came on board and never clicked with me. I was never informed of any behaviour issues or issues with my performance in either writing or verbally, but I was recently informed that it was decided that I would not be continuing in the role at the end of the contract. No reason was given other than my manager felt she couldn't work with me. Is this considered 'unreasonable' or unfair dismissal?

    Also note that there have been no expressed concerns from anyone else regarding my performance. I've worked 7 months on the job and only for roughly7-8 weeks with the new manager. No one else has had issues with me and I have actually been praised for my performance in the role by multiple other people in the company.
     
  2. Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch Lawyer

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  3. Spitler

    Spitler Active Member

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    Thank you for your help, Matthew.

    I have a related question about my contract that perhaps you can aid with. My contract states:

    "Your employment is conditional on your satisfactory completion of an initial six month qualifying period. The qualifying period exists to ensure that there is a good match between your skills and the requirements of the position. Either party may terminate the employment without reason or cause at any time during this period by providing the other party with one week's notice or payment in lieu thereof.

    If you successfully complete your qualifying period, your employment will continue, on the terms and conditions outlined in this letter. A performance appraisal will be conducted at the end of your six month qualifying period."

    Later on in the contract it speaks of variations:

    "(My employer) may vary the terms and conditions of your employment from time to time. Any such changes are not binding unless they are agreed between you and (my employer) and recorded in writing as an amendment to the terms and conditions contained in this letter."

    Now, my situation is an initial contract from January to end June. Early in April, my acting manager (as the position of my role's manager was at market) came to me to say they would like to extend my contract to end of September. I was not consulted about this, nor was I required to sign anything. I was handed a letter simply stating my new contract end date. I was told this was because they wanted the new manager, once hired, to have a hand in confirming me in my role.

    My question is, since I never signed anything indicating that I agreed with this variation in my contract, does that mean that, technically, I could be considered an ongoing (non-contract) employee at the close of my initial contract period - as that is the only document they ever had me sign?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Spitler,

    Generally an employee working under a contract for "a specified period of time" or a fixed term contract does not have grounds to make a claim for unfair dismissal, however this depends on how your contract of employment is worded an how ambiguous the "fixed term" component of of the agreement is.
     
  5. Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch Lawyer

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  6. Spitler

    Spitler Active Member

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    I would love to Matthew, but unfortunately, I'm not in a position to afford that right now. I understand that only so much free help can be given in this forum. Thank you for your help thus far.
     
  7. Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch Lawyer

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    If they gave you a letter stating that they offered to extend your fixed term to from after the end of June until the end of September and you stayed on after June they will argue that your conduct implies you accepted the new fixed term variation to your contract.
     
  8. Spitler

    Spitler Active Member

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    Thank you for that Matthew.

    I have had a follow up meeting with HR regarding my situation and they are claiming that I wasn't dismissed but rather, it was an end of contract. Therefore, they don't need to provide a reason, etc. Is this true?

    Again, I was employed for more than 6 months and my contract stated that at the end of the 6 month trial period I would be given a Performance Evaluation and if all was good I would continue in the role on the same terms indefinitely. I was never given a performance evaluation and never spoken to about my performance.
     
  9. Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch Lawyer

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    Hi Spitler

    I believe you have an arguable case that failing to provide you with the performance evaluation either makes the dismissal unfair or is a breach of contract.

    I can help you with this type of case without you paying anything up front. Otherwise if you go it alone and you are filing in the fwc make sure of the 21 day time limit.
     
  10. Spitler

    Spitler Active Member

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    Thank you very much for the offer Matt. However, your link indicates you are in Sydney and I am in Brisbane. I would imagine I need a lawyer closer.
     

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