FWA has found that an employee’s dismissal was not a case of “genuine redundancy” because it would have been reasonable in the circumstances for him to be redeployed to the company’s Queensland division.
The employee was made redundant after his position at a Melbourne site was no longer required and the employer determined there were no suitable alternative positions available in Victoria.
In coming to this conclusion, FWA considered the following circumstances to be relevant:
- the large headcount, turnover and national character of the employer;
- the evidence of the employee that he would have accepted a job in Queensland if it had been offered to him and he was willing to cover the relocation costs himself;
- the minor administrative burden on the employer of enquiring about interstate opportunities prior to retrenchment; and
- had the employer made such enquiries, a suitable alternative position would more probably than not have been identified in Queensland.
In light of this conclusion, FWA held that there was no valid reason for the employee’s termination and that his dismissal was unfair.
In a separate decision on remedy, FWA ruled that an order that the employer appoint the employee to a position in Queensland was not appropriate, given the redundancies the employer had effected in that State since the employee’s dismissal. Instead, FWA awarded the employee approximately $7,750 in compensation.