• Commercial & Business Law

    Commercial & Business Law

    We are first and foremost commercial & business lawyers in Melbourne for people.  Our team will work with you to develop, manage and execute your business plan while ensuring you exploit opportunities, manage risks and achieve commercial success.  

    LEARN MORE
  • Dispute Resolution & Litigation

    Dispute Resolution & Litigation

    We are litigation lawyers in Melbourne specialised in commercial litigation and dispute resolution, we appreciate that resolving a dispute requires more than just following court processes. You can trust Taurus to be in your corner, and fight to deliver results.

     

    LEARN MORE
  • Property & Conveyancing

    Property & Conveyancing

    Enhanced by a wealth of experience, Taurus’ conveyancing lawyers in Melbourne can assist you with all of your conveyancing needs.

    Whether you are selling or purchasing your dream home, we are experienced in handling the conveyance to ensure the smooth settlement of your property.  We successfully perform all steps of your conveyance from reviewing or drafting the Contract of Sale through to confirming settlement has been completed with your real-estate agent.

    We are passionate about providing exemplary personal service to every client and understand that we are here to assist you during one of your most exciting and stressful transactions. We ensure that all of our clients are provided with regular updates and use our own portal allowing clients to login to view the progress of their transaction at any time.

    The conveyancing lawyers at Taurus are registered with PEXA and experts in their field.

    LEARN MORE
  • Intellectual Property

    Intellectual Property

    One of the most valuable assets of any business is its intellectual property. We as intellectual property lawyers Melbourne empower our clients to protect their brand, systems and confidential information by offering them a broad range of legal services related to their IP.

    LEARN MORE
  • Insolvency & Bankruptcy

    Insolvency & Bankruptcy

    We act on behalf of business lawyers, creditors, debtors, and insolvency practitioners in a variety of re-structuring and insolvency matters.

    LEARN MORE
  • Debt Recovery

    Debt Recovery

    We will recover your debts as if they were our own. For many owners, directors, and managers, debt recovery is one of the most confronting and challenging aspects of running a business. It is also crucial to the cash flow of the business, and therefore critical to its financial success.

    LEARN MORE
  • Employment Law

    Employment Law

    We help our clients meet the demands and challenges of managing their workforce.

    We have a team of employment solicitors can assist in any employment law matter ranging from drafting employment agreements to giving termination advice and handling unfair dismissal applications.

    LEARN MORE
ENQUIRE

We often get asked how an employer can terminate an employee and whether the termination has breached the fair work legislation. The most recent employment law trend being employers dismissing employees which have become intoxicated during a work event or after work which has subsequently affected their employment.

Our most recent client enquiry was from an employer concerned with employee intoxication at the annual end of financial year celebrations. We encouraged the employer to take pro-active steps of implementing company policies governing intoxication, having the party on a weeknight and at a private venue.

Termination

While it is important to have pro-active measures in place, it is also important as an employer to understand the circumstances which may give rise to termination. One of the most recent cases in the Fair Work Commission found that a termination for intoxication was legal. In this case, the employee was employed with QF Cabin Crew Australia Pty Ltd (QF), a subsidiary of Qantas, as a cabin crew member. During a layover, the employee went out for drinks at a bar and was subsequently taken to hospital after being found unconscious on the bathroom floor. As the employee was unable to attend work the following morning, QF placed the employee on paid leave pending an investigation. The investigation ultimately led to the employee being terminated for misconduct.

The Fair Work Commission took into account the employee’s blood alcohol level of 0.187 and his failure to take responsibility for his actions. The Commission found the employee’s arguments refuting the blood alcohol level were not supported by any evidence. QF acted reasonably by dismissing the employee after the investigation substantiated that he had failed to comply with QF policies and consumed an excessive amount of alcohol prohibiting him from attending work.

The key to the above case is the steps taken by QF to investigate and substantiate the employee’s behaviour. It also advanced QF’s case by showing the high level of safety which is required of a cabin crew member.

Recommendations

When considering whether to dismiss an employee for being intoxicated at an after-work event, we recommend:

  1. Standing down the employee with pay;
  2. Conducting a thorough investigation into the employee’s conduct, including meetings with other staff members which were present;
  3. Recording the findings of the investigation in writing;
  4. Abandoning the claims against the employee which have failed to be substantiated in the investigation;
  5. Putting the findings of the investigation to the employee and allowing them an opportunity to respond;
  6. Considering whether dismissing the employee is a reasonable consequence for their behaviour;
  7. Providing the employee with a letter of termination setting out the findings of the investigation and reason for dismissal.

If you carry out the above recommendations, you will be in a stronger position to defend any application for unfair dismissal. However, it is also helpful to put in place the pro-active measures mentioned above in order to reduce your business’ exposure.

If you would like to receive legal advice to assist you in your employment law issue, please contact a member of the Taurus Legal Management team on (03) 9481 2000 or info@tauruslawyers.com.au.

Posted by Taurus Legal Management