As an employer having all your ducks in a row is so crucial that sometimes even the slightest lapse in judgement can have consequences, even when you try to correct your mistakes. JR Bulk Liquid Transport recently found out the price of hiring the wrong truck driver to work for them. The company was ordered to compensate the truckie after firing him for his unsafe driving habits despite the company having legitimate reason to do so.
According to reports JR Bulk Liquid Transport was ordered to compensate Anthony Davey for unfairly dismissing him for unsafe driving habits despite being told that their reason for dismissing the man was valid. They were however advised that they didn’t follow the proper procedure for doing so, hence the pay-out.
A post on a popular trucking website recently explained:
In another case of procedural issues leaving a transport company exposed to an unfair dismissal claim, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that JR Bulk Liquid Transport did not follow the necessary steps for terminating an employee.
The bulk milk transporter decided to fire Anthony Davey in May this year after a series of incidents in the space of one year that included speeding on multiple occasions and hitting a car.
The article explained that the company had gotten a number of complaints about Davey’s driving and feared that his behaviour was putting the reputation of the company at risk. They also told the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that firing the driver was the only option because it wasn’t likely that he would soon alter this problematic behaviour. Fair Work found that while the company was not unjust in firing the worker, the failure to follow the correct procedure in doing so meant that the dismissal was ruled unfair.
Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission Anna Booth explained:
“These are sound, defensible and well -founded reasons to terminate his employment,” FWC deputy president Anna Booth says.
“I find that the dismissal was neither unjust nor unreasonable. However I find that the dismissal was unfair because of the way in which it was done. Mr Davey was not afforded procedural fairness and I find as a consequence that his dismissal was harsh and therefore unfair.”
FWC heard that the company had held a meeting with Davey on May 12 about his actions and then decided to let the driver go.
Mr Davey says he was not on notice and was unaware that he may be fired at the meeting. He also says he wasn’t allowed to comment on the reason for his dismissal and was also prohibited from having a support person in the meeting.
The FWC also heard that there was no specialist human resource functions at the New South Wales depot where the driver was based, so the proper HR protocols were probably not adhered to.
Anna Booth went on to explain:
“However JR Bulk Liquid Transport is a large enough employer to have developed policies and procedures for dismissing employees and I would have expected a more considered approach to be taken to addressing Mr Davey’s situation,” Booth says.
Following the hearing, JR Bulk Liquid Transport was ordered to compensate Davey the equivalent of 4 weeks of pay for the unfair dismissal.
Companies need to ensure that when dealing with employees, the proper procedures are followed particularly relating to issues such as hearings for unacceptable behaviour and dismissals.