23 October 2015 When kindness is cruel - Warwick Ryan cited in Smartcompany

Employment law specialist Warwick Ryan has criticised the Fair Work Commission's decision in a recent unfair dismissal case for Patties Food.

In April of this year, part-time storeman Heath Stephenson was fired after driving at an 'unreasonable dangerous high speed' when arriving at work one night. Although Patties argued that Stephenson's termination was informed by his past disregard for OH&S policies, Commissioner John Ryan found that the matter should be evaluated on its own terms and ordered for Stephenson to be reinstated.

Warwick Ryan commented that the FWC's 'kindness' here could potentially set a dangerous precedent regarding cases of strict liability conditions, as the safety of fellow employees is rarely taken into consideration. Not only is the business exposed to liability, but the colleagues of infringers such as Stephenson are equally exposed to injury. Tough love, according to Ryan, is the only love the FWC can show.

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