An employee was called into a meeting with the employer and informed that her position was redundant and that she was dismissed effective immediately.  The employer did not think it had to comply with any consultation obligations as it had incorrectly assumed no modern award applied to the employee.  Further, the employer did not offer redeployment into more junior and lower paid positions because it did not want to insult the employee. 

FWA held that even though the employer no longer required the employee’s job to be performed, the dismissal was not a genuine redundancy (for purposes of the unfair dismissal laws) because the employer failed to consult with the employee and offer her redeployment.  FWA found the employee, who had since accepted a lower paid job, would have considered more junior positions with the employer.  The employer had no reason to assume otherwise. 

FWA noted employers should be cautious and consult with employees (even in the absence of award or agreement consultation obligations) and not presume a lower paid position will be rejected. 

FWA, having dealt with this preliminary issue, will now hear the unfair dismissal application.

Margolina v Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centres Pty Ltd [2011] FWA 5215