Employment Law, Oddstuff

Employment Contract Act – still alive?

This is an odd decision:

the Supreme Court in Victoria (Australia) held that an employer was not required to comply with its own policies and procedures when dismissing a very senior employee. In a decision remindful of the Employment Contracts Act (NZ) the Court relied (only) on the respective termination clause in the agreement which provided for termination by either party giving four weeks notice. According to the Court, no other conditions had to be met. Interestingly, the Court also found that the respective termination protection policies would have not applied anyway to him as a very senior employee. Which would imply that the employer could implement policies which apply to certain employee groups only, which seems to conflict with the general ‘equal treatment/ non discrimination’ approach also adhered to in Australia.

Even more importantly, the decision is at odds with the recent acknowledgment of an implied term of trust and confidence in Australian employment agreements (see my other posts on this). What the employee should have done claim a breach of that implied term. Chances would have been much better to succeed.