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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.

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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