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Employers Getting Sued More Than Ever (Sloppy Gardener).

Article by WealthSafe.

Date Published: 24 Sep 2013

It seems when it comes to hiring staff in Australia, you cannot win. No matter what you do.

Businesses are fed up with it. It is the reason why so many businesses are now outsourcing. The cost of Australian labour is just too high. Not just wage rates. But how hard it is to actually fire staff.

Even when they blatantly ignore company procedures!

A couple of recent cases in the Fair Work tribunal showed this.

One case involved a sloppy gardener. The other one involved an employee who passed around porn to fellow workmates!

Let’s call them the “sloppy gardener” and the “porn star worker”.

Today we’ll look at the sloppy gardener case.

Here, a gardener was employed to do landscaping work, normal gardening, whipper snipping, etc.

He was sloppy in his work. He did not do the whipper-snipping on a few occasions. He often did not cut the grass. The garden looked neglected and in bad condition.

On top of that, he had an annoying pet dog he insisted on bringing. The pet dog attacked livestock, irritated people, and was a general pest.

This was all shown in the evidence.

Further, the employer produced evidence of emails and other discussions. These showed he had told the employee on many occasions that he was unhappy with his work.

The employee admitted to having informal discussions about his work performance. However, he said it didn’t happen as much as the company said it did.

The tribunal held it was not good enough for the employer. He was unfairly dismissed.


The employer should have spelt out more clearly the consequences. That is, if the employee didn’t lift his game, he’d be fired. The tribunal also said that he should have had performance assessments. This way, he could have the opportunity to respond, and lift his game.

My comment?

In a perfect world, it is easy to look at a business and say “hey, you should have done this better”.

And sure, maybe he could have. Maybe he could have given more performance assessments. Maybe he should have given a formal letter saying ”you will be fired if you don’t perform”. And maybe he should have got it 3 times. And maybe he should sing opera to him as well. Who knows.

But what our lawmakers and policymakers forget is this …

It’s the business owner who takes the risk. Who goes broke if he makes no money? Who stays up all hours of the night to do paperwork, and finish the client’s job. And ultimately, the business owner gets sued if the employee fails to deliver. Not the employee.

It’s easy to focus on the profits and forget about the risk, suffering and sacrifice that a business owner makes.

So I ask: why should business owners be penalized to pander to a welfare mentality? Can anyone blame business owners for looking outside Australia to hire labour?

Anyway, enough said for now. I could talk forever on this topic!

Stay tuned for the next article/case in 2 days’ time:  “So I can send porn to who I want at work?”

To read more about the sloppy gardener case, go to:

Stay tuned for our next article in 2 days’ time.

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