Appeal Dismissed for Non-responsiveness and Failure to Prosecute

The applicant, who served as a Customer Service Officer with the Department of Communities under the Director General's purview, faced dismissal after an extended sick leave period commencing in May 2018. Despite being directed to return to her Halls Creek position following a hiatus, the appellant, grappling with distress, sought an alternative solution, initiating a return-to-work program in June 2020. The respondent, deeming her unfit for the role, proposed her retirement in August 2020, eventually leading to a disciplinary process in March 2021 and a subsequent proposal for dismissal in October 2021, met with non-compliance.

The appellant sought reinstatement.  This was opposed by the respondent, which asserted that the dismissal decision was both sound and justifiable, following a procedurally fair disciplinary process. Amidst an intricate procedural history marked by the appellant’s repeated requests for extensions, adjournments, and filing discrepancies, the Commission scheduled a show cause hearing, where the appellant failed to appear.

The Appeal Board concluded the appellant had due notice and was provided ample opportunities for her input.  It found her non-responsive to various requests and a failure to meet procedural expectations.  Consequently, under section 27(1)(a) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA), the appeal was dismissed as the appellant did not discharge the onus and failed to appropriately pursue the matter.

The decision can be read here.