An unfair dismissal ruling by the Fair Work Commission has awarded an ex-employee of Lidco Oregon Australia $50,000 in compensation. He was initially terminated for taking time off to recover from surgery.
Koichi Yokohata was employed as a technical manager for seven months before he needed to take time off for surgery. He had initially discussed taking 10 days off with his manager prior to formally requesting the leave, which his manager had verbally approved. However, Mr Yokohata only submitted his written leave notice the day before commencing his leave.
On his last day of leave, Mr Yokohata phoned his employer saying that his recovery was taking longer than expected. He stated that he would return to work in four days’ time. The FWC heard that the employer did not raise any objections to Mr Yokohata taking the additional time off.
However, when Mr Yokohata returned to work and presented his employer with a medical certificate, he alleged that he was verbally dismissed. Lidco Oregon Australia had told him that he was not meeting the business’ expectations.
Mr Yokohata told the Commission that he did not receive any outstanding wages or accrued entitlements. Lidco Oregon Australia was not present at the FWC hearing and did not provide any written documentation of Mr Yokohata’s dismissal.
Commissioner Ian Cambridge ruled the dismissal harsh, unreasonable and unjust and ordered Lidco Oregon Australia to pay Mr Yokohata 20 weeks remuneration – a total of $50,000.
“The employer’s failure to properly attend to proceedings before the Commission is broadly consistent with and reflective of the evidence of the unacceptable circumstances of the applicant’s dismissal” Commissioner Cambridge states. “The Commission found that there was no valid reason given by the employer for the termination. It was also found there was a complete lack of procedural fairness given to the employee.”