A Rare Costs Order in an Unfair Dismissal Claim
In a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission of Charles Parletta Real Estate Pty Ltd v Ms Maria D’Ortenzio and Ors, the Fair Work Commission took the rare step of ordering indemnity costs against a manager accused of various breaches of her employment contract. Commissioner Platt found that the employee continued to pursue an Unfair Dismissal Application which was “doomed to fail” purely out of spite in an attempt to inflict maximum harm on the employer.
The Commission found that the employer had a valid reason for dismissing the Office Manager because the Office Manager had, amongst other things, increased her salary without seeking her employer’s permission, unilaterally decided to reduce the pay of another employer as punishment and, following her suspension for the investigation into her conduct, instructed her solicitor to write to various banks seeking information to assist her case and also instructed her solicitor to contact a potential purchaser of the business and allege that her employer had breached South Australia’s Land Agents Act. The decision can be read in full here.