Health Alert (Australia) - 20 January 2014


In This Issue:

Judgments, Legislation, and Reports.

- Excerpt from Judgments:

Commonwealth -

15 January 2014 - Short v Ambulance Victoria [2014] FCA 3 -

The applicant's employment as a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria (AV) was terminated in July 2011. The applicant contended that in terminating his employment, AV contravened the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) by taking adverse action against him because he "vigorously" exercised his workplace rights. The applicant also submitted AV took adverse action against him by refusing to allow him to perform higher duties, issuing a formal warning, and standing him down. He made claims of discrimination on the basis of his alleged mental disability, and breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence in his contract of employment. The Federal Court determined that no aspects of the applicant's claim was made out, and dismissed the application.

In issuing the formal warning, the Court found that while this amounted to "adverse action," the issue was whether the complaints made by the applicant prior to the warning was an operative factor. The Court held it was not: the formal warning related to the conduct of the applicant in 2010, and for no other reason. Further, the Court rejected the applicant's contention that AV breached the implied term of trust and confidence, as the warning was issued with reasonable and proper cause.

In relation to the applicant's termination, the Court rejected the submission that his employment was terminated partly because of his persistence in exercising his workplace rights. The Court found the reason the applicant's employment was terminated was because of his "unprovoked and unreasonable personal attack" on his Team Manager...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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