Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Reasonable minds can differ on discretionary decisions

The Full Bench unanimously dismissed an appeal against the amount of compensation the Commission awarded in a claim of unfair dismissal.  The appellants argued that when the Commissioner was weighing competing considerations to determine the amount of compensation to award, he placed too much weight on the employer’s interests. 

The Full Bench noted that when the Commission is deciding how much compensation to award in an unfair dismissal, the decision is discretionary.  The Full Bench can only interfere with a discretionary decision if, among other things: 

  1. The Commission’s decision was based on mistaken facts; or
  2. In the circumstances, it was unreasonable or plainly unjust to give so much weight to a particular consideration. 

The Full Bench noted that the appellants did not argue that the decision was based on mistaken facts.  The Full Bench found that the Commissioner did not place unreasonable or unjust weight on the employer’s interests because the matters considered by the Commissioner were relevant and the conclusions drawn were reasonable. 

The decision can be read here

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