Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

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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

Commissioner Emmanuel recently found that an employee was unfairly dismissed because her employment was terminated without reason and the employer’s behaviour towards her was particularly harsh and unfair.  Despite her period of faithful service as a high performing senior employee, she received aggressive, authoritarian emails, her mental health and professionalism were questioned without reasonable basis and she was isolated from the workplace before being unfairly dismissed. 


The employer argued that the dismissal was a genuine redundancy.  However, the Commission found that the employer could not rely on this as a valid reason for dismissal because it did not consult with the employee.  It did not warn the employee that she may be dismissed and, on the day of her dismissal, the employer simply informed her that her position was redundant and told her there were no alternative positions available. 


Commissioner Emmanuel found that the unfair dismissal caused the employee to lose 58 weeks’ pay.  As this exceeded the statutory cap, she was awarded the maximum amount of six months’ compensation.  Although the Commission accepted that the employee suffered injury, there was not enough evidence about injury to make a finding and, in any event, any finding about injury would not have increased the amount of compensation awarded. 


The decision can be read here.

The Honourable Acting President held (and the Chief Commissioner agreed) that employees’ service with related corporate entities is not continuous service with ‘one and the same employer’ for the purpose of calculating long service leave under the Long Service Leave Act 1958.  Until 2006, long service leave was governed by a General Order of the Commission or the Long Service Leave Act.  The General Order included service with related corporate entities to calculate long service leave.  In 2006, the Long Service Leave Act was amended.  The 2006 amendments abolished the General Order, and left a gap in relation to the issue of continuous service with related corporate entities. 

Her Honour found that the gap in the 2006 amendments could not be filled through statutory construction because the express purpose of the 2006 amendments included making substantive changes to long service leave, so there was no way to be sure of the words Parliament would have used to fill the gap.  

The decision can be read here.

A teacher of eight years’ experience was dismissed after the Department of Education found her performance was substandard.  The teacher challenged the dismissal. 

The teacher said that not only was her performance of an appropriate standard, but that the Department’s process denied her procedural fairness.  She made allegations of bias against her school principal and alleged that those who were to support and assess her had conflicts of interest. 

The Commission found that these allegations were baseless, that her principal was fair and professional.  Chief Commissioner Scott also found that, assessed against the standards applicable to all teachers, the applicant’s performance was indeed substandard in spite of guidance, support and mentoring over nearly three years. 

The decision can be read here


 Application No. PSAA 1 of 2016


“WA Health Dental Technicians (Dental Health Services) Award 2016”

 NOTICE is given that an application has been made to the Public Service Arbitrator, on 11 October 2016, by The Civil Service Association of Western Australia Incorporated under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 for the above named Award.

 As far as relevant, those parts of the proposed Award which relate to area of operation and scope are published hereunder. 

  1. - SCOPE

 This Award shall apply to Dental Technicians who are members of or eligible to be members of the Civil Service Association of Western Australia Incorporated, employed by the Employer in the classifications prescribed in "Schedule B - Wages" within Dental Health Services (an administrative entity of the Employer as at the date of registration). 



 This Award has effect on and from the date of registration until such time as it is cancelled or replaced. 



 Apprentice Dental Technician Years 1-4

Adult Apprentice Dental Technician (21 years and over)Years 1-4

Dental Technician Years 1-4

Dental Technician Advanced Level I Years 1-4

Dental Technician Advanced Level 2 Years 1-4


A copy of the proposed Award may be inspected at my office at 111 St. Georges Terrace, Perth.





 12 October 2016

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Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission
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111 St Georges Terrace

Phone : (08) 9420 4444
Facsimile : (08) 9420 4500
Free Call : 1800 624 263

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Email : Registry


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