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Sacked Sales Manager Didn’t Have The Right To Take Compassionate Leave

Sacked sales manager didn’t have the right to take compassionate leave

A sales manager has lost her general protections claim after arguing her employer fired her for taking compassionate leave.

The Federal Circuit Court found the worker failed to provide any evidence that she attended a memorial service for her grandfather.

Therefore, it concluded she did not have a workplace right to take the time off.

Sales manager didn’t have the right to take leave

Jasmine Morris, also known as Jess Smith, worked for Allied Express Transport in Sydney.

Previously, management caught her lying when requesting leave.

This time, the company approved leave for Morris to attend her grandfather’s memorial service, despite it happening six weeks after his death.

However, it only approved the leave on two conditions:

  • that Morris provide a photograph showing her at the memorial service to prove she was there, and;
  • that she return to work that same afternoon.

She did neither.

Early on the morning of her grandfather’s alleged service, management met with Morris and issued her with a final warning letter due to poor performance and behaviour.  

The letter warned she faced dismissal if the company did not see an improvement of sales performance and behaviour.

Allied Express sacked her the following day.


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Court finds worker sacked for poor performance

Morris filed a general protections claim involving dismissal.

She argued in the Federal Circuit Court that Allied Express had taken adverse action against her by sacking her for exercising a workplace right to take compassionate leave.

She wanted compensation for lost wages, however, the court didn’t buy her argument.

Judge Justin Smith found that because Morris did not provide any evidence that she attended the memorial service, she did not have a right to take the time off.

He pointed out that the entitlement to compassionate leave must be for the death of an immediate family member.

And furthermore, an employer can request evidence to satisfy themselves that the leave request is genuine.

The Judge found that rather than sacking her for taking compassionate leave, Allied Express dismissed Morris for poor sales performance and behaviour.

Workers must ask for time off

Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says the case is a reminder that workers need approval to take time off.

“Leave is an old fashioned word for permission, so when an employee wants to take time off work, they must seek permission,” he said.

“Ms Morris failed to provided evidence that she needed the time to attend the memorial service.

“If she did, then she would have had a legitimate workplace right to take the time off.

“And, as a result, her adverse action claim would have been far more likely to succeed.”


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