A Fair Work Commission decision confirms that employers should not rely on cursory evidence as a valid reason for termination of employment.
An employer terminated a senior electrician based on his GPS location records. However, the employee had placed his GPS locator in a Twisties packet, to intentionally distort the location records provided to his employer regarding his whereabouts.
The records showed that the employee did not attend work for 21 days. The employer knew that the employee had placed his GPS locator in a Twisties packet and therefore, the information it provided was not accurate. Despite this, the employer did not conduct a thorough investigation into the employee’s whereabouts and relied on the GPS records as a reason to terminate the employee’s employment.
Subsequently, the employee brought a claim for unfair dismissal. The Commission held that the employer had failed to conduct a proper investigation into the employee’s whereabouts and could have used the employee’s telephone records to ascertain his location.
However, the employee was ultimately unsuccessful his claim. He was found to have not attended work for 3 days, which was considered a valid reason for the termination of his employment.
Lessons For Employers
It is important for employers to ensure that they have both a valid reason for terminating employment and they afford the employee procedural fairness.
Further, employers should consider the veracity of the evidence they are seeking to rely on when terminating an employee and consider whether an investigation is necessary prior to termination of employment.