THE Australian Industrial Relations Commission has ruled that employers should be protected from costs incurred when defending unreasonable unfair dismissal claims.
In a full bench sitting, the Commission found a legal representative for a dismissed employee was wrong to continue legal proceedings when they knew the employee had no justified argument.
The case G. Dircks v JimRoy Pty Ltd involved a dismissed employee, Natasha Vukadinovic, and her legal representative Gary Dircks, who were pursuing the previous employer, JimRoy, for a financial settlement. This was despite Dircks' acknowledgement to JimRoy's lawyer, law firm Deacons' partner Stuart Kollmorgen, that he could not dispute that Vukadinovic had lied about her parents' death in order to receive compassionate leave.
In making his judgement on the case AIRC Commissioner John Tolley said he was satisfied that Dircks was well aware of the hopelessness of his client's case and forced him to pay for some of JimRoy’s legal costs.