King & Wood Mallesons

Asia-Pacific 100 position: 3

Commission backs pre-emptive sacking of wannabe-thief employee

By Alina Leikin

The Fair Work Commission has found that an employer was entitled to sack an employee who was allegedly planning to steal company property, rather than waiting for the theft to actually occur.

The employee worked at a coal mine. During the course of a work day, the employee did a number of things that led the employer to believe that he was intending to steal company property. The employee had removed some cables from the main area of the mine, and hid them in an area usually only used for rubbish. The employee had also parked his ute in the same area, and there were items of company property loaded in the ute’s tray.

Also, instead of returning to his ute along the lit pathway, the employee returned via a steep embankment, seemingly trying to remain ‘unobserved’. After being questioned about his conduct, the employee returned the cable and other items. Following these events, the employer conducted an internal investigation and concluded that the employee was intending to steal the items. The employee was dismissed…

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