On a rainy afternoon, a truck driver sheltered in the back of his work vehicle, removed his wet shoes, and had a peaceful nap…until his boss woke him up. Within half an hour he was unemployed for sleeping on duty.

The truck driver filed an unfair dismissal claim. The Fair Work Commission found that the reason for the employee’s dismissal was valid but criticised the employer’s procedures. Although the employee was told the reason for his dismissal, he wasn’t given an opportunity to respond, and was fired “on the spot”. If the dismissal had been effected in a procedurally fair manner, it was unlikely it would have been found to be unfair.

See: Steed v Active Crane Hire Pty Ltd  

Take Out Point: Process. Process. Process. Even where there’s a valid reason for dismissing an employee, the process must be fair.

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