Unfair Dismissal Costs Employer Over $20,000

An employer has been ordered to pay 17 weeks' salary worth $22,882 as compensation to an employee who was unfairly dismissed by her employer after she refused to sign her revised employment contract.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) found 'Pay Per Click' guilty of breaching its legal obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009.

Ms Khutson was a full-time employee at 'Pay Per Click' since November 2014. In late 2017 'Pay Per Click' tried to change Ms Khutson's hours of work from 9am to 5pm with a 30-minute lunch break to 9am-5.30pm with a 60-minute lunch break.

Initially, Ms Khutson agreed to this change but advised her manager that it would affect her attendance at pre-paid pilates classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. She requested to leave at 5:15pm on those days and would shorten her lunch break by 15 minutes to compensate.

The employer refused and advised Ms Khutson that if she did not sign the revised contract, her employment would be in jeopardy. After she still refused to sign, her employment was terminated in November 2017 via email.

The case highlights the importance of being open to flexible working arrangements in your workplace.

Employees may require increased flexibility in the workplace for a number of different reasons, and which type of flexible work arrangement is appropriate will depend on the circumstances of the employee and your business. However, as we can see from Khutson v Chesson Pty Ltd T/A Pay Per Click (2018), being open to negotiation with your employees regarding flexible working arrangements is very important.

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