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WA Redundancy Due to Spiteful Motives - Recourse under Employment Law?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Lance, 31 October 2015.

  1. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    I am up until Monday a Senior National Safety Professional for a large contracting company on a 6 figure salary. Until June, I was working as the safety professional on a project and on the 22nd of June the General Manager Safety created a role and elevated me into the role. At the time of my move to corporate, the CEO was the acting Executive General Manager (EGM) for the division I was working in. So my advancement was approved by the CEO in his role as Acting EGM.

    The next month, the CEO promoted an operations GM to the role of EGM. There had always been a personality conflict between the new EGM and the GM Safety and he made it clear that he was not happy with the GM Safety or me being in our roles. That all passed and the GM Safety and I thought we were well on our way to building a better relationship with the new EGM. Then while I was conducting a site visit in QLD from Tuesday to Thursday last week, the EGM pulled the GM Safety in (on Tuesday) and citing that he couldn't influence the operations managers made him redundant.

    I arrived back in the office on Friday and while I was expecting I was called into an office with the EGM on the phone, operations GM West and the West HR officer and told me my role was redundant. When I started with the GM Safety in corporate, I expressed my concerns of leaving a project and he assured me that my role was budgeted for 12 months at least.

    Last month I received a letter from the EGM advising me of a $5000 a year pay rise. I had not been advised of any issues with the role or job function. In fact I was told there was a need for me to spend time with a number of Mackay based projects because of issues with the Coal business. In addition, I had on-going work winning in the west. The company had been awarded a project next month off the back of a compliance audit with a client, an audit which they informed us was the highest awarded audit score this large mining company had ever awarded. I also have the letter from the client addressed to me. I had also commenced work on safety equipment installation in the east coast and I had developed a risk management framework to start a process of review and improvement.

    With the amount of legitimate and positive work the GM Safety and I had undertaken, the only real explanation for our redundancy was that the EGM had an agenda to remove us. Is there any recourse under Employment Law if a redundancy appears to be a spiteful act as opposed to a legitimate business decision?
     
  2. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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  3. Lance

    Lance Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. I had read a lot of detail on redundancy and the Fair Work Act. Unfortunately it seems that an employer can have any motives he wants and it would be fairly difficult to prove the redundancy was anything but a business decision.

    The part that remains unanswered is, because I was moved from one role on the 22nd June 2015 to a newly created role and the role was made redundant 4 months later, does anyone know if there is a minimum timeframe between creation of a role and making that role redundant?

    It doesn't seen to gel that a business of this size can change direction in 4 months.
     
  4. Serge Gorval

    Serge Gorval Well-Known Member

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    Pursuant to s389 of the Fair Work Act 2009 a redundancy must be genuine in order for there to be valid reason for termination.

    It is a quite a complex area but in your case, from the info above, it could very well be argued that not only is there no genuine need but the process undertaken was very much challengeable.
     

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