Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Employer entitled to summarily terminate the employment

The Commission has dismissed an unfair dismissal application made by a podiatrist. The alleged unfair dismissal occurred following a workplace disagreement between the parties that resulted in the respondent advising the podiatrist that her services were no longer required.

A jurisdictional question was raised by the respondent that the podiatrist was an independent contractor, and not an employee, and as such the Commission is unable to hear the matter. Commissioner Walkington considered that various factors indicated that the podiatrist may be an independent contractor but was ultimately satisfied on the balance that the podiatrist was in fact an employee.

The next question considered was whether the podiatrist's termination was harsh, oppressive or unfair. Walkington C concluded that the podiatrist did not comply with a lawful direction from her employer and had also used abusive language to directly challenge her employer. The Commission found that the podiatrist's conduct caused a destruction in the necessary relationship of confidence between the parties and that because of this the respondent was entitled to summarily terminate their employment. The Commission dismissed the application.

The decision can be read here. 

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