PSAB appeal against redundancy dismissed for want of jurisdiction
The Public Service Appeal Board (Board) has unanimously dismissed an appeal by a government officer on the basis that the Board has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter.
The appellant was employed by the respondent, the Director General of the Department of Education, as a Public Service Officer.
On 23 September 2020, the Director General made the appellant an offer of voluntary severance by letter. If the appellant wished to accept the offer, he was required to sign and return it by 16 November 2020.
The appellant subsequently contacted the Department of Education to clarify by what date his resignation should be effective in order to receive the full incentive payment of 12 weeks. The Department informed him that his acceptance would need to be dated and returned on 5 October 2020.
The appellant signed the offer for voluntary severance on 5 October 2020 but claimed that the advice concerning the date of response given by the Department of Education was contrary to the date given in the original offer by the Director General.
The appellant contended that he was ‘pushed into having to accept this advice [from the Department of Education] … and missed out on several weeks of pay between 5 October and 16 November 2020’.
The Board noted that it was not in dispute that the appeal centred around a ‘section 94 decision’ and whether the Public Sector Management (Redeployment and Redundancy) Regulations 2014 (WA) (Regulations) were fairly and properly applied to him.
The Director General argued that the Board does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine an appeal against a decision made under s 94 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) (PSM Act). She claimed the Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to review s 94 decisions.
The appellant contended that the Board has jurisdiction ‘to hear and determine any appeal against a s 94 decision if the regulations referred to in s 94(4) of the PSM Act were not fairly and properly applied to, thereby allowing the Board jurisdiction by way of s 80I of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) (Act).’
The Board noted that it was clear from the appellant’s submission that his appeal related to whether the Regulations were fairly and properly applied to him. In effect, the appellant appealed a s 94 decision to the Board.
The Board found that, fundamentally, the appellant did not appear to appreciate the distinction between the Commission and the Board. It noted that the appellant did not understand that the Board is not the Commission, but rather a constituent authority of the Commission.
The Board set out its jurisdiction under s 80I and found that it was clear that this section does not confer jurisdiction on the Board to hear appeals of s 94 decisions.
The appeal was dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
The decision can be read here.