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Compensation for adverse action

In Stanley v Father Michael Court (2014) FCCA 156, delivered on 14 January 2014 the Federal Circuit Court of Australia has awarded compensation of $10,000 for the hurt and humiliation which was suffered by a senior nurse who the Court found was the victim of adverse action (dismissal) as a result of the nurse exercising a workplace right, namely to seek consultation about the decision of her employer to restructure her job. The Court held that the applicable enterprise agreement entitled the nurse to such consultation, holding that it constituted significant change.

Judge Raphael found the employer breached s.340(1)(a)(iii) by dismissing the nurse “for serious and gross misconduct for proposing to exercise her workplace rights” under clause 40 of the agreement.
The Court also found that the employer’s conduct contravened s.340(1)(b) by preventing her from exercising her right to dispute resolution under clause 36.

The Court also ordered the employer to take certain remedial action, including providing the employee with a reference and it has adjourned consideration of the penalty to be imposed upon the employer pending further submissions.

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