Latest news

Employee’s Dismissal Upheld: Vaccination Order Lawful and Reasonable

The appellant’s dismissal was upheld because the Board determined that the vaccination order was legal, reasonable, and necessary for her role.

The appellant, a Senior Community Engagement Officer (SCEO) in the Department of Justice, was dismissed for failing to comply with a vaccination order under Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions, which were considered necessary for her role involving travel to remote communities, schools, and hospitals.

The appellant disputed the legality of the Employer Direction, arguing that it did not apply to her role, which she believed was Perth-based, and that the duties mentioned in the direction were unclear. The respondent defended the legality and reasonableness of the Employer Direction, stating that it aligned with the SCEO role and that compliance with CHO Directions was essential for fulfilling her responsibilities.

The Board ultimately dismissed the application, finding that the Employer Direction was legal, reasonable, and within the scope of the appellant’s role, which occasionally required travel to remote communities, schools, and hospitals. Her failure to comply with the vaccination order constituted a breach of discipline, and her dismissal was deemed fair and not harsh, oppressive, or unjust in light of the role's travel requirements and the lack of evidence indicating unfair treatment compared to other government employees.


The decision can be read here.

Appeal Dismissed: Dismissal for Serious Offence Affirmed

The appeal to dismiss the appellant due to his conviction of a serious offense was dismissed because the Board found his actions and lack of remorse were incompatible with his role as a public officer.

The appellant, a former Level 5 Area Manager with the respondent, was dismissed from his employment in April 2022 due to a conviction for possession of scheduled poisons. The respondent considered his conviction a serious offence and incompatible with his role as a public officer.

Both parties agreed that the respondent had the authority to impose disciplinary action, and the appellant did not dispute his conviction for a serious offence. However, he contended that his dismissal was disproportionate to his misconduct, and the respondent did not adequately consider the circumstances of his offence. The appellant argued he had no malicious intent when he took and stored the medications and cited a lack of clear departmental policies for medication disposal as a factor.

The appellant sought reinstatement, while the respondent countered that the appellant's reasons for keeping the medications were questionable, emphasising his careless and negligent actions, which damaged trust and confidence.

The Board ultimately dismissed the appeal, finding that the respondent’s decision to dismiss was lawfully and validly made consistent with s 92 of the PSM Act. It rejected the appellant's claims regarding his lack of knowledge and remorse, noting that he failed to properly differentiate, record, or store the medications, further eroding trust in the employment relationship and supporting the respondent’s decision.


The decision can be read here.

Appeal dismissed: Decision of the Public Service Appeal Board not a decision of the Commission

A decision of the Public Service Appeal Board  is not a decision of the Commission constituted by a Commissioner.

The appellant file an appeal under s 49(2) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) from a decision of the Public Service Appeal Board dismissing his appeal from PSAB 60 of 2022.  The following day, the respondent filed an application that the appeal should be dismissed, as not being within the jurisdiction of the Full Bench under s 49 of the Act.

The Full Bench dismissed the appeal because decision of the Appeal Board is not a decision of ‘the Commission constituted by a Commissioner’, for the purposes of s 49(1) of the Act.  Therefore, under s 49(2) of the Act, no appeal was being brought from ‘any decision of the Commission’. 


The decision can be read here.

Interpretation of 'Continuous Service' in Health Agreements Clarified by Commission

The Commission determined that the interpretation of 'continuous service' in two separate agreements in the Western Australian health system was straightforward and corresponded with the definitions provided within the agreements themselves.

The matter concerned a dispute related to the interpretation of clauses in two separate agreements in the Western Australian health system. United Workers Union (UWU) applied for a declaration on the true interpretation of clauses in the Education Assistants' (Government) General Agreement 2023 and the Government Services (Miscellaneous) General Agreement 2023, both of which outlined entitlements to long service leave based on continuous service. The Director-General of the Department of Education was the Employer party to the Education Assistants Agreement, while numerous government agencies collectively represented the Employers in the Government Services Agreement.

UWU argued that 'continuous service' should be understood according to its common-sense, plain English meaning. In contrast, the Employers contended that 'continuous service' referred only to qualifying service since the registration of the industrial agreement containing the casual Long Service Leave clause.

Senior Commissioner Cosentino found that there was no ambiguity in the references to 'continuous service' in the relevant clauses of both agreements. The Education Assistants Agreement and the Government Services Agreement did not contain any ambiguity, and the words in question did not support the interpretation advocated by the Employers. As a result, the Commission provided directions regarding the true interpretation of 'continuous service' in both agreements, clarifying that it aligns with the continuous service specified within each respective agreement's clauses.


The decision can be read here.

Doctors not “Consultant/Specialists” under the AMA’s industrial agreements: not misclassified

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) made a claim on behalf of six doctors who submitted that, during their periods of employment in the public health system, they should have been classified as “Consultant” under the relevant industrial agreements.

The relevant industrial agreements defined “Consultant / Specialist” as follows:

“Consultant / Specialist” means a medical practitioner who holds the appropriate higher qualification of a University or College, recognised by the Australian Medical Council (“the AMC”), and includes a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, or, in exceptional circumstances to satisfy areas of unmet need, such other specialist qualification recognised by the Director General of Health and who, unless otherwise approved by the Director General of Health, is employed and practising in the specialty for which he/she is qualified.

Industrial Magistrate O’Donnell found the word “appropriate” in the phrase  “the appropriate higher qualification of a University or College” meant a qualification recognised by the AMC that leads to a speciality in a particular field of medical practice, including in the case of general practice, FRACGP and FACRRM.

The six doctors were therefore found to hold the appropriate higher qualification as referred to in the Consultant/Specialist classification. Her Honour  also concluded the classification additionally required that the doctor to be employed and practicing in the specialty for which the doctor is so qualified. 

Her Honour was satisfied, therefore, that it was possible for the six doctors to have been classified as Consultant/Specialists. However, her Honour noted that there were other classifications in the industrial agreement which could also appropriately be applied to the doctors. Accordingly, the employer’s use of these other, appropriate classifications, meant there had been no breach of the industrial agreement.

The decision can be read here.

1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 ... 65