The Fair Work Ombudsman has dismissed Brisbane-based distributor Compuworld’s appeal over an unfair dismissal claim filed by an employee earlier this year.
The company was ordered in May to pay Anna Liu, its former receptionist and accounts officer, more than $52,000 in damages after she was found to be unfairly dismissed.
Compuworld then appealed the decision, accusing the presiding officer, Fair Work Commission (FWC) deputy president Ingrid Asbury, of being tainted by legal or factual error. The company also denied any wrongdoing in Liu’s sacking.
Fair Work said appeals would only be granted if there is an error on the part of the primary decision maker, i.e. Asbury, and that permission to appeal be granted if the FWC is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so.
“We do not consider that it would be in the public interest to grant permission to appeal in respect of any of the grounds of appeal,” the ruling read.
Fair Work also reaffirmed that Compuworld should pay Liu $15,000 for non-economic loss (as part of the full $52,000).
The Commission also said deputy president Asbury did take the company’s declining business activity into account during the hearing, and that Liu was not favoured for simply having legal representation (Compuworld represented themselves in the original hearing).
“We are not persuaded that there is an arguable case that the decision of the deputy president was tainted by legal or factual error, or that the deputy president’s discretion miscarried,” the decision read.
“The matter before the deputy president turned on its own facts, and the appeal does not raise any genuine question of law or any issue of importance or general application.”
“We are not satisfied that it is in the public interest to grant permission to appeal. Accordingly, permission to appeal must be refused in accordance with the Fair Work Act.”