Fair Work Australia said Donut King is not an appropriate venue for an employee dismissal
Gold buyer falls foul of Law
Finding space for sensitive staff meetings can be difficult for
retailers in shopping centres, but one gold jewellery buying company has
learned the hard way why it’s important to conduct staff meetings in
Fair Work Australia has ruled that Gold Buyers Queensland was wrong in the way it informed an employee she was being made redundant.
Jennifer Broughton, a former district manager for Gold Buyers Queensland, which is part of the 650-store chain Gold Buyers International, was informed of her dismissal at a Donut King outlet near the store she was based. Fair Work Australia (FWA) has ordered Gold Buyers Queensland to provide four weeks’ wages in compensation to Broughton, due to the insensitivity of the meeting and failing to make efforts to reassign her to a new position.
The FWA ruling explained that the regional manager chose to deliver the news at Donut King because of a lack of private space in the Gold Buyers Queensland store, which put the applicant in a distressing scenario.
“I understand that the business does not have a board room or office premises,” Commissioner Helen Cargill wrote. “However a meeting such as this is probably one of the most important interactions between an employer and employee. I am sure that somewhere more private could have been arranged.”
“The applicant’s evidence is that she found the public location and the presence of [another colleague] to be humiliating,” Cargill added. “She also felt embarrassed and intimidated.”
Cargill wrote that the manager failed to consider an alternative, more private venue to Donut King.
“For example, the applicant’s evidence was that there was a coffee shop within the shopping centre where previous meetings had taken place,” she wrote. “At the very least such a location should have been considered.”
Gold Buyers Queensland posted $1.2 million in losses in 2010/2011, which instigated a string of redundancies, including Broughton, and store closures across its network of jewellery buy-back kiosks.
Do jewellers really understand the fair work act?
Posted June 12, 2012