In July this year, an AMIC member rang for advice on an employer’s obligations in relation to the closure of their business and redundancy.

The business and AMIC worked closely to ensure all staff received their appropriate severance and entitlements.

During the period of notice provided to all employees the business was approached by an interested buyer. After two weeks of meetings, consultation and negotiation the buyer withdrew their interest.

What came from the meetings though was a determination from the business directors to continue with the deli section of the business which had remained viable.

Although over half the staff including a director were still made redundant a number of staff retained their jobs in the new structure. By no means was there any guarantee of success but both management and the remaining staff were determined to put their best foot forward and have a go.

Shortly after the final day of employment for the redundant staff the business received an Unfair Dismissal application from the Fair Work Commission. This came as considerable shock to the business as they had provided ample opportunity for consultation during the process and had individual conversations with the staff. The former staff member was seeking a further 8 weeks’ pay due to this allegedly being a “non-genuine redundancy.”

The business contacted AMIC who were asked to represent the business in the dispute process.

AMIC and a representative for the business attended a telephone conciliation meeting with the former staff member (the applicant) and a mediator from the Fair Work Commission.

In private conference the Commission confirmed that it was a fair redundancy but if the matter proceeded there may be additional costs to the business owner.

After some backwards and forwards the applicant settled for a small amount of money $600.00 which did not even cover their legal costs.

Although the business owner was very good with keeping records they soon realised this was outside their area of expertise so they contacted AMIC for the necessary advice and support.

With AMICs assistance what may have been a costly and drawn out affair cost a minimal amount and was resolved at the first Fair Work Commission appearance.