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Recent Fair Work Case Reinforces Employers are Required to Act on Employee Complaints


In a recent case the Fair Work Commission (FWC) compensated an employee who was dismissed for threatening a co-worker, finding that the employer failed to act on his prior complaints about the colleague trying to fight him in the yard.

The employee experienced continuous difficulties with a colleague who constantly attempted to pick fights with him. Despite reporting the incidents his supervisor failed to take any substantial action which resulted in another altercation where his colleague again demanded to fight him, resulting in his resignation.

After resigning the employee had a heated telephone conversation with his supervisor and allegedly made a “threat” to put his colleague in the hospital. The supervisor dismissed the employee with immediate effect.

The FWC found that the threat could have been interpreted as a plea for action from the employer, as the employee did everything he was supposed to do and determined that the dismissal was harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

Why is this important:

Members are reminded that it is the employers responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for their employees.

If an employee reports a concern to their supervisor or management, especially relating to threats of violence, it is the responsibility of the employer to conduct an investigation into the concern and do what is necessary to ensure that the threat is properly addressed.

The MBA Legal team is available to conduct investigations into complaints. If you need assistance, please contact our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on (02) 6175 5900.