The Federal Court has upheld a decision of the Federal Magistrates Court that found an employer did not breach the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) when it performance managed and disciplined an employee. The employee, who had made a complaint and later resigned, unsuccessfully argued that he was constructively dismissed as a consequence of making a complaint. The Federal Court agreed that management had legitimate concerns about the employee’s performance, and while the conduct of the employer did alter his position “to his prejudice”, such conduct was not in any way connected to the employee’s workplace right to make a complaint. Ramos v Good Samaritan Industries [2013] FCA 30.  

Lesson for employers: This decision is welcomed as it reinforces that employers can take legitimate “adverse action” against an employee, so long as that action is not being taken for an unlawful reason.