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Ai Group Industry Newsletter

Thursday, 25 May 2017
  23 May 2017
Report: business unprepared for fourth industrial revolution
  24 May 2017
Important changes to rules for air cargo going to or through US




  25 May 2017
We need your input: Cuts to 457 Visa eligible occupations list
  25 May 2017
Energy Week 2017 - your head start on Australia's energy future




  25 May 2017
Manufacturers: Are you giving your customers what they want?
  24 May 2017
Funding grants for women's leadership development




With technology, honesty is the best policy

The case of an Electrical Technician demonstrates the inescapable grip of technology on our working lives – together with the importance of allowing a dismissed employee a full and proper opportunity to respond to all evidence of misconduct right up to unfair dismissal proceedings. The technician had worked for 10 years in a relatively autonomous and mobile role maintaining water treatment assets for a major supplier of public water services. His employer received an anonymous letter complaining that he had been playing golf at times he was supposed to be working. While this particular allegation remained unproven, the subsequent investigation revealed 21 dates on which the technician had claimed to have completed assigned tasks when he in fact had not been at the relevant worksite. Employees were required to record completed tasks on personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, which had recently been upgraded to record the location of the employee via GPS data. The technician's claimed task completion record did not match with his location on each of the 21 occasions within a five-month sample period – the anonymous letter had originally provided golf club records of 140 rounds across two financial years… The PDA data, backed by further swipe card records on site, provided the primary supporting evidence for the technician's dismissal, which came a decade after a similar warning regarding the falsification of timesheets in the pre-PDA era… On this basis, the Fair Work Commission rejected an application for unfair dismissal. However, despite the employer ensuring an appropriate right of response in the termination process, the technician succeeded in gaining a right to provide new evidence contesting the PDA data on appeal: the one week period provided between the submission of the employer's case and the actual FWC hearing was deemed too short for the defence to properly examine and respond to the "highly technical" PDA data, among the employer's 386 other pages of filed evidence. The decision was therefore quashed and returned for another hearing: "The problems discussed in this appeal would have been avoided if a reply submission had been provided for in the directions, and if a longer period between written submissions and the hearing date was also provided for."

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