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NSW Made an Honest Mistake - Potential Unfair Dismissal?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by louise89, 14 August 2015.

  1. louise89

    louise89 Well-Known Member

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    I just need clarification if a company can give unfair dismissal to someone who made an honest mistake and admitted to this mistake as it was willful or deliberate and what I did I thought was right? I haven't been provided a written warning or a first and final yet, and this is the only time in my 8 years that I have made a mistake, and I thought being honest was the right thing to do.

    The person who has caused this issue to blow out of control was someone I had trusted and they went and told my staff to do something that I had no idea what they were doing as I hadn't told them to do what they did.
     
  2. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member

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    Hi Louise,

    There's no rule about one mistake and whether it can lead to dismissal.

    From what you have described though you'd be unlucky to be terminated in your employment for one honest mistake unless it had particularly serious consequences.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. louise89

    louise89 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Paul Cott,

    Thank you for your assistance. Yes I was honest with what I did and they are now trying to state that what I verbally said to what I wrote in a diary note doesn't match however,one of the diary notes I wrote was under duress and from that I wrote a second diary note listing the events and trying to recall what happened.

    Can diary notes be used as evidence or of someone says something verbally like 'he say she say' talk can that be used as evidence. Because the witness in the room was writing notes but how do I know if she wrote down the correct things.

    Thank you again.
     
  4. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @louise89,
    I agree with @Paul Cott that it appears like an unfortunate experience for you.
    Diary notes may be admissible as evidence in court (or the Fair Work Commission, etc.). That said, hopefully you can resolve the issue with your employer before this time? All the best and please keep us updated with your progress.
     
  5. louise89

    louise89 Well-Known Member

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    Good Evening @John R

    Thank you for your assistance.

    I am praying it is over as soon as possible. They haven't been extremely clear with me on what is going on or the next steps that are taking place. I had requested diary notes from my staff in relation to the incident thinking it was the right thing to do, only to be told that an independent didn't obtain them and how do they not know that I didn't persuade my staff into writing what they wrote. But I would assume that they also are not independent as they are now taking part in the investigation. Is that right?
    What if they persuade my staff in saying something different to what they wrote on their diary note and they try and put it back on me, would that be classed as unfair because they wrote a diary note but they are now saying I persuaded them to write that or what they wrote was not true?
    What questions are they not allowed to ask towards me? Is it best to just provide simple answers?

    Any guidence is greatly appreciated.
     
  6. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @louise89,
    1. I'm unsure as to your line of work, but are you a member of a union? If yes, you should contact them for advice/support during the next steps.
    2. If you are not a union member, it is best for you to maintain your own contemporaneous notes (that is, documenting each conversation, phone call, etc.) so that if the matter escalates, you can respond quickly.
    3. Honesty is generally always the best policy when answering questions. You can answer with simple yes/no responses, ask for regular water breaks, etc. but take care not to be perceived as evasive or non-responsive.
     
  7. louise89

    louise89 Well-Known Member

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    Good Morning @ John R.

    Unfortunately I am not longer with the union. I work for a financial company.

    Thank you for your assistance. Perfect so I have already answered honestly, but I am assuming they need to investigate further.

    I will probably be provided a letter of allegation today in regards to what has happened.

    Is there any questions they can not ask me (how they position a question to me?)

    Also if my staff wrote diary notes and provided them to me can they 'legally' disregard those first diary notes?

    Thank you once again John R.
     
  8. louise89

    louise89 Well-Known Member

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    Definitely I was honest in my first discussion I was honest to what I knew and did (which from reading about 'serious misconduct' I don't see I have fallen into that as what has happened I was aware of. Unfortunately I can not take responsibility of my staffs actions if I am not aware of anything happening. I will always stand by that my staff should ask me if it is right.

    Just wishing to confirm are there any leading questions someone who is interrogating you can not ask? To look trying to get you to say something else?

    And finally as I got my staff to write down a diary note can they destroy those diary notes and state that my staff have said something else to them verbally.

    Once again thank you for your help.
     

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