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Limebite 06/21

Double shot dismissal! Morning piccolos and afternoon cappuccinos results in dismissal!

Joel Zyngier

Lynelle Ajax v Credit Union Australia Ltd [2021] FWC 3165

Two credit union employees were sacked for abusing their employer’s coffee account at a local cafe and one of them just lost an unfair dismissal case (the other settled her claim). The former employee enjoyed a piccolo in the morning and a cappuccino in the afternoon, which as anyone will tell you, is entirely the wrong order – milkier coffee in the morning, lower milk in the afternoon…

The case shows that even a relatively small theft from an employer, in this instance, just over $100 in coffees, can warrant dismissal. It was also relevant that the employee was dishonest during the disciplinary process – often a separate ground for dismissal.

The employer conducted a rigorous investigation and show cause process, ensuring it had all the facts and the employee had a proper opportunity to respond. Also relevant was the FWC’s consideration of whether dismissal was an appropriate sanction or whether it might have been too harsh – each case should be assessed on its own merits. In this case it was a fine balancing act, given the employee’s 6 years of unblemished service and the financial impact on her as a single mother of two. However, the FWC found that the dishonesty of the employee, particularly given her position of trust in a financial institution, made dismissal a proportionate sanction.


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