How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Leon Your Own Question
Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 43953
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
12124641
Type Your Australia Law Question Here...
Leon is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have red a lady in the office in the last 6 weeks. On

Customer Question

We have hired a lady in the office in the last 6 weeks. On employment she was counselled on our sexual harassment policy which includes notifying management immediately if harassment is encountered. It was discovered due to a complaint by a Works Manager that her husband was coming out to the works yard to have a chat with him over an alleged comment. The works manager felt threatened and took the complaint to us, the lady concerned has then raised concerns with alleged comments made to her 2 weeks previously by the works manager. We have never had any complaints in the past in regards ***** ***** manager or anyone engaged by us. We now have 2 employees that must work together, but both have alleged actions by the other. The admin employee has only been with us for 6 weeks and is still under her 3 month probation, is it illegal due to the allegations to terminate her employment, as it is untenable for the company to have them working together and there is heresay from both sides of the parties involved.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand this is not legal advise Please understand this is not legal advise but a guide to assist you.

Have you investigated the complaints?

How many employees do you have in total?

You have to be careful about terminating her as she can argue that she has been discriminated against.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we have investigated the complaints from both sides
We a have 4 office employees in the main office. 2 Works Managers in the workshop office where one involved in the complaint works and approx. 15 outside employees.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Afternoon,

Did you find that her allegations were unfounded?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was no evidence or witnesses as such, but we took her allegations and counselled herself and investigated the situation. The works manager denies any such comments, and it is very uncharacteristic of him. The comments were that he called her baby, and mumbled under his breath a comment about her breasts which she states she did not fully hear. It was also alledged that he stated Ïf only your husband new what we said about you. The works manager feels threatened by her comment. Allegedly she went into his office in the works yard and stood at the door and asked him if he was going to be in the yard all day, he replied yes, and she stated that's good my husband wants to come in and have a chat with you. The works manager has come to upper management very upset and harraseed and that is when the full allegations have come out.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

The husband can be asked to stay away and she has to be advised that he is not to come to the work premises.

Did she admit the discussions where she told the manager her husband was coming to the yard?

Is there anyone that can confirm what happened when the husband arrived and if there was any threats of violence?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We feel now that it is a very untenable situation for them to work together with the undercurrent threats of physical harm to the works manager by her husband, any physical alteracaton is strictly prohibited and a sackable offence.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

If she has arranged for her husband to come to the yard and taken matters into her own hands then it is misconduct.

But you need to have evidence that he was threatened.

You need to have others that can verify what happened when the husband arrived. But has she confirmed that she told the manager her husband was coming?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She did admit to stating that her husband was coming to the yard to chat with him. She was asked to speak to her husband and tell him not to come to the yard with which she said she has. The husband did not come to the yard.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Apart form the managers version did anyone else see the husband in the yard?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No the husband did not come to the yard, it was a threat from the lady involved to the works manager. She has walked to his office and stated this to him. She has admitted that she did say this, but there is no witnesses from either party to both there allegations.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

If she has admitted to saying this then if you have a policy for bullying and harassment and threats like this are misconduct you can use this threat to terminate her.

Alternatively give her a warning letter with the threat of termination if this happens again.

I suspect that she may file a general protections claim against you and you should be prepared. Have you had her sign any statement and did she have an independent witness with her when you had the meeting?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No there were no witnesses to either party. No we did not have her sign a statement or the works manager. There was myself and the Managing director present when when she admitted to the statement. We are still in the process of finalising investigation as this has only occurred on Friday.
Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

I would suggest that you call her back in when you have finalised the investigation and advise her to have a support person.

You can choose to give her a warning letter and also advise her that she will be placed on a management plan to make sure nothing like this happens again.

You have to also set out what your findings were and based on her admission she has harassed the Manager and that is unacceptable.

You also have to speak to the Manager and again go through with the policy with him just in case so she cannot argue that you have favoured him.

The following link is the small business dismissal code from Fair Work. Look at this and make sure you have complied.

The closer you follow it the better if she is going to claim.

https://www.fwc.gov.au/about-us/legislation-regulations/small-business-fair-dismissal-code

Good luck with it, it is not an easy job to do but you have to be firm with both and make sure that they have been given all opportunities to change. The threat is an issue for her and it can be dismissible offence. But you have to do thinghs correctly.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If there is nothing further

thank you for using my services.

If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know

If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.

Regards

Leon

Expert:  Leon replied 1 year ago.
Good Evening
I'm just following up our discussion earlier this week and seeing whether there is anything else I can assist you with.
If I have missed anything, or you have any further questions please let me know.
If there is anything else in the future please do not hesitate to ask.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Regards
Leon