Employers Beware of Unfair Dismissal

The Case of Anderson v Theiss Pty Ltd [2014] FWC

Material Facts

Mr Anderson was dismissed from his employment following a work email he sent which was considered to be offensive to people of the Islamic faith. There were policies in place at the company for which Anderson worked prohibiting the conduct, however, as the company failed to issue written warnings to Mr Anderson, failed to record prior incidents and did not provide Anderson opportunities to improve, Mr Anderson was awarded $28,000 of damages on the basis of the dismissal being harsh and unfair.

Summary

The matter reminds us of the importance of having a process to handle employees with inappropriate conduct. While there were certainly valid grounds for Anderson’s dismissal, there still needs to be a set workplace procedure or standard for dealing with these issues as set out by the Fair Work Commission; meaning the employee must be dismissed following adequate warnings, recorded/noted incidents and attempted opportunities to improve.

Mutual Wills Matter

The Case of Osbourne v Estate of Osbourne [2001]

Material Facts

In the matter of Osbourne v Estate of Osbourne, the plaintiff (applicant to the court) alleged that his late parents had agreed to make mutual wills that would leave the whole of their estate to him and his siblings. His parents allegedly executed the wills, but with his mother not holding testamentary capacity. His mother died without revoking her last will and so, the assets of her estate went to her husband; not her children. The Judge found that the agreement to have mutual wills was not upheld and that there was no clear evidence that the former will had been revoked.

Summary

This matter notes that when making a will for elderly persons, you should always have your testamentary capacity assessed by a GP or suitably qualified medical practitioner, to ensure the validity of your will. Further, you should always revoke former wills and testaments in your new will.

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