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IR Update: Damages of $100,000-plus awarded to employee after unfairly dismissed for “set-up” misconduct

April 18, 2016

A director at ANZ has been awarded $110,000 in damages for being unfairly dismissed for serious misconduct. The Bank alleged Mr Bartlett had amended a confidential internal email and mailed it to a journalist at the Australian Financial Review.

Mr Bartlett’s claim was previously dismissed by Justice Adamson in a 2014 NSW Supreme Court hearing. On appeal, The New South Wales Court of Appeal set aside the decision at first instance and allowed the appeal with regard to liability and amended the assessment of damages.

The Court held that ANZ’s ability to summarily terminate an employee was not simply a matter of the Bank’s opinion and depended on whether the “misconduct” had actually occurred. The Bank had failed to discharge its onus to prove that Mr Bartlett had in fact handwritten the letter, as the evidence did not warrant that finding.

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