Fair Work Commission approves one day’s notice of redundancy

The Fair Work Commission has found a manager who was made redundant was not treated unfairly by receiving one day’s notice.

Paul Murray, a technical project manager with software development company Ventyx, was made redundant after 16 months of employment. 

He made an unfair dismissal claim but the full bench of the Fair Work Commission found various factors may affect the timing of discussions with employees.

“Employers may face various exigencies which will affect the practicability of the timing of the commencement of discussions with employees,” the full bench of the commission found.

In this case there were circumstances where confidentiality of client data was important. 

Murray was made redundant after Ventyx undertook a review of its global business which had not been performing to expectations.

It made 100 employees globally redundant, with nine positions in Australia going including Murray. 

Ventyx claimed it did not inform employees of the redundancies until July 1, 2013, because of security concerns for its own systems and those of its clients. 

Murray’s work was project based and the commission found Murray was unfortunately between projects or “on the bench” at the relevant time and there was no work in the pipeline for him.

“It is in the public interest that the full bench should assist in developing clear lines of authorities in such areas as redundancy decisions of the Commission, which have a high degree of prevalence in a cross section of industries in the economy,” the commission found. 

Employment law expert Peter Vitale told SmartCompany the message for employers is really that the commission will adopt a flexible and common sense approach to considering the circumstances which are unique to that particular business.  

“It does not mean that in all cases it is necessarily appropriate to give employees very short notice that they are about to be made redundant,” he says.

“In this case an important consideration for the commission was that the company had contractual obligations to its clients to ensure confidentiality and security of information that it held. It was also found that the company had not strictly complied with its obligations to consult under the award, but balancing all the other factors in the case the termination was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.”   

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