Employee deliberately deceives employer about qualifications – causes serious damage to client through poor performance

Dishonest candidate denied compensation for unfair dismissal

January 24, 2017
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Editorial
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Written by
www.shortlistnet.au
TikForce
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Published by
www.shortlistnet.au
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Credentials
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Employee deliberately deceives employer about qualifications – causes serious damage to client through poor performance

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Dishonest candidate denied compensation for unfair dismissal

An employee who was sacked for poor performance has been denied compensation despite her dismissal being found "unfair", because she lied about her qualifications to get the job.

Not-for-profit Spectrum Community Focus Limited, which also has a recruitment subsidiary, SCO Recruitment, hired the finance manager in 2014, and terminated her employment in December 2016 on the basis of several performance issues, which included:

  • lodging a tax return showing a loss of more than $600k (the organisation actually achieved a profit of $333k)
  • reporting late to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), which jeopardised the organisation's not-for-profit status
  • presenting incorrect and confidential financial information about the organisation and its subsidiaries (stating that cash flow was negative, and would remain so for some time, and that the organisation had an ATO debt of $1.6 million, instead of $200k). This caused the general manager to resign immediately, and another employee to threaten to do so unless he could be convinced the figures were incorrect

Fair Work Commission Senior Deputy President Jonathan Hamberger found the employee "deliberately deceived" SCF about having an MBA, and CPA 'associate status', when she applied for the job – a fact that only came to light after her dismissal.

He accepted she caused the organisation "very considerable damage" by failing to file returns within the required timeframe and that SCF had a valid reason to dismiss her, but characterised her behaviour as "poor performance" rather than "serious misconduct.

SDP Hamberger found the dismissal unfair in one regard: SCF hadn't given her any notice nor paid her in lieu of notice. But he found it would be inappropriate to compensate her given her dishonesty.

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