WORKPLACE LAW: Unreasonable KPIs lead to adverse action

THE Fair Work Commission has recently found that an employer had taken adverse action against its employee when it unilaterally imposed unreasonable performance targets.

The employee was employed by a real estate agency in a number of roles.

In May 2014, the employee began what became a long health related absence.

When she returned to work in November 2014, the employee experienced a number of changes to her role.

She was also subject to restrictions in terms of the employer's consent to her attending union meetings. The employee resigned and began an application on the basis that the employer had taken adverse action against her because of her absence and her role as president of the relevant union.

Commissioner Wilson found that the employer failed to disprove that the actions taken were not for the reasons she alleged.

The employer was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in compensation, including $3000 for hurt and humiliation.

Implications for employers: Where such changes are made off the back of an extended period of sick leave or where they involve a union delegate, it is imperative that employers be able to evidence reasons to justify the changes in order to discharge the onus of proof.

  • Lisa Aitken is an accredited specialist in workplace relations law and the principal of Aitken Legal, a law firm specialising in employment law for employers. The information in this column is intended as a guide only.

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