Changing management is not a reason to sack the chef

South Oakleigh Club’s board changed in mid to late 2015. The board decided to improve that it was time to improve the food.

Mr Fernando was head chef at the time. The SOC didn’t give him the opportunity to demonstrate that could deliver the new menu. Instead, it sacked him.

Mr Fernando brought a claim for unfair dismissal.

The SOC try to claim poor hygiene and warnings about his performance. That didn’t stack up at the Fair Work Commission. A claim that the chef didn’t have the ability to make the changes in the kitchen didn’t fly either. He was given no opportunity to implement a new menu and the menu decisions were made by his superiors.

The FWC found that:

“Mr Fernando’s dismissal was as a result of the Board seeking to take a new direction for which they had decided Mr Fernando had no place.”

The decision to dismiss was made well before Mr Fernando was given any opportunity to respond.

Clubs: if you’ve decided to implement changes, you need to at least give those already employed a shot at making those changes. They’re either going to be effectively performance managed out, or they’ll surprise you. Give them the chance – it will help you avoid an unfair dismissal claim later. Same goes for restaurants and cafes.

The FWC hasn’t made a decision on the remedy yet.

Further reading: Fernando v South Oakleigh Club Incorporated T/A South Oakleigh Club (SOC) [2016] FWC 8572

By | 2017-02-02T14:39:47+00:00 16 December 2016|Categories: Case note|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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