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10 Common Mistakes With HR Investigations

Unfair dismissal despite workplace fight not ‘handbags at ten paces’

Unfair dismissal despite workplace fight not ‘handbags at ten paces’
Unfair dismissal despite workplace fight not ‘handbags at ten paces’ The FWC has unleashed a scathing attack on this employer’s HR department for leaving two inexperienced employees in charge of a workplace investigation that resulted in the summary dismissal of an abusive employee who had physical contact with a co-worker. Despite having a valid reason for the fighting employee’s dismissal, a range of additional circumstances made the summary dismissal ultimately unfair. The moral of this story is that an employer must not forget fair procedural requirements, even when a dismissal appears more than justified.
Continue Reading Published in Assault & Fighting, News Centre, Other Misconduct, Workplace Bullying

Employee sacked for workplace fighting lands knockout blow

Employee sacked for workplace fighting lands knockout blow
Employee sacked for workplace fighting lands knockout blow Imagine conducting a workplace investigation thought to be watertight. You’ve sacked two fighting employees. But then you’re forced to give one his job back! This employer was faced with that exact nightmare situation. This recent dismissal decision from the FWC shows how an HR investigation into serious workplace misbehaviour can quickly go from bullet-proof to disastrous because of simple employer errors.
Continue Reading Published in Assault & Fighting, General, News Centre

Abusive ‘workplace bully’ loses dismissal case

Abusive workplace bully loses dismissal case
Abusive workplace bully loses dismissal case When faced with a violent and aggressive employee who has a history of threatening and anti-social behaviour, it is tempting to ignore established practices and cut procedural corners. This employer was tested to its limit by an employee who tried 'every trick in the book' including intimidation of the HR investigators. Find out how the employer and its HR investigators managed to stay on track despite extremely trying circumstances.
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Worker’s “absolute dishonesty” sees fighting dismissal upheld on appeal

Worker's "absolute dishonesty" sees fighting dismissal upheld on appeal
Worker's "absolute dishonesty" sees fighting dismissal upheld on appeal Having two of its employees involved in a physical fight at work was concerning enough for this employer. Then having the FWC reject the employer's dismissal action as unfair was something the employer would not accept. Find out what happened in the employer's legal challenge to the initial finding and what it means for your misconduct procedures.
Continue Reading Published in Assault & Fighting, General, News Centre, Other Misconduct, Workplace Bullying

Dismissal for fighting upheld despite protracted workplace bullying

Dismissal for fighting upheld despite protracted workplace bullying
Dismissal for fighting upheld despite protracted workplace bullying After a tumultuous few years through the courts, an employer's decision to dismiss a fighting employee has finally been upheld by the Full Bench of the FWC. The crux of the decision rested on whether years of systemic workplace bullying outweighed the employee's extremely aggressive actions. Luckily, the employer's workplace investigation was not in question.
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Failed HR investigation sees fighting employees unfairly dismissed

Failed HR investigation sees fighting employees unfairly dismissed
Failed HR investigation sees fighting employees unfairly dismissed Yet another bungled workplace investigation has demonstrated the importance of covering all the bases when it comes to investigating serious misconduct in the workplace. Even where an employer has a clearly valid reason for an employee’s immediate dismissal, it cannot rely on the valid reason alone. Time and again procedural flaws have brought employers’ workplace investigations undone. Despite acts of significant gravity committed by the employees concerned, this employer learned a tough lesson about the importance of procedural fairness in HR investigations.
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Employer slammed $364k for not investigating workplace bullying

Employer slammed $364k for not investigating workplace bullying
Employer slammed $364k for not investigating workplace bullying In another “when will they ever learn” example, a Sunshine Coast employer has been hit with a 6 figure payout for the consequences of failing to investigate workplace bullying - burying your head in the sand is now a costly option. After multiple failures from senior staff members and a general disregard for the basic tenets of a workplace investigation, this incredibly costly mistake contains some harsh realities for employers. Miss this week’s lesson at your own peril.
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Employer unfairly sacks ‘workplace bully’

Employer unfairly sacks workplace bully
On January 1 2014, unprecedented workplace bullying legislation will come into force. Employers will need to ensure that they know how to correctly characterise and investigate workplace bullying in order to avoid experiencing the disappointment of one recent employer who's investigation ended up in an expensive wild goose chase. Facing an unfair dismissal claim over a panicked reaction to an apparent bullying claim, this case contains a dire warning for employers - correctly investigate workplace complaints or else.
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‘Bart Simpson defence’ in workplace investigation sinks swearing employee

This employee seemed to think that maintaining a 'Bart Simpson defence' would be his silver bullet against allegations of abusive and insulting language. Coupled with a failure to cooperate or show remorse during the ensuing workplace investigation, the employee found himself in dire straits before the Fair Work Commission. Find out what the Commission thought of this behaviour and why it warranted his dismissal ...
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What are you investigating? Performance OR misconduct – it’s not as clear as you may think!

What are you investigating? Performance OR misconduct? Before commencing any workplace investigation, HR investigators must understand what they’re investigating. Is it unsatisfactory performance? Is it misconduct? Is it a combination? Employers who get it wrong may be vulnerable to an unfair dismissal finding if they’re sued. We highlight a recent dismissal case involving a child care centre that demonstrates the importance of knowing the difference between performance and conduct…
Continue Reading Published in Assault & Fighting, General, News Centre, Other Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, Social Media, Theft & Fraud, Workplace Bullying