Former account director sues Oracle over termination

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Former account director sues Oracle over termination

A former account director at Oracle Australia is suing the company over the termination of his employment.

Previously the key account director for Oracle’s relationship with ANZ bank, the employee was forced out of the vendor in September 2020 allegedly on the basis of poor performance.

In court documents obtained by CRN, the former employee disputed the poor performance claim and alleged that Oracle breached the Fair Work Act by failing to pay him redundancy pay and breaching the implied contractual duty of good faith.

The former employee has sought compensation of up to $807,000 as part of a general protections claim if Oracle is found to have breached the Fair Work Act of 2009. He has also sought alternative amounts in case the ruling found his role was made redundant or if Oracle breached its own employment contract.

Oracle denied all the claims and maintained that the ex-account director was “unable to manage the ANZ customer relationship effectively” and that it was “of great concern” to Oracle given the employee's experience, seniority and level of remuneration.

The vendor sought to have the case dismissed and that they be compensated for the company’s costs incurred during the proceedings.

“The poor performance of the applicant, such that Oracle no longer had confidence in his ability to successfully carry out his role as Key Account Director, was the reason for his dismissal,” court documents read.

Court documents reveal the employee gave the following reasons to justify his general protections claim:

  • his direct supervisor only met him once before his dismissal
  • none of his other superiors warned him that his performance was unsatisfactory in his three years at Oracle; and
  • that his sole client - ANZ Bank - did not have any concerns of how he managed its relationship with Oracle.

“The above contraventions of the [Fair Work] Act have caused the applicant to suffer loss and damage,” the documents read.

The employee also alleged that after his dismissal, changes in Oracle’s operations resulted in the dismissal of other key account directors of his same level, Level M5. He said Oracle characterised his dismissal as being for poor performance to avoid paying him redundancy pay, among other possible reasons.

Oracle denied that the employee’s role was made redundant and maintained that he is not entitled to any redundancy pay.

The employee also said Oracle breached its own internal policy on involuntary terminations due to poor performance, which involved a 20-step process. He alleges Oracle only took one step to process his dismissal, the 14 September 2020 meeting where he was informed of his dismissal.

“[Oracle’s] abject failure to abide by its policy is a clear breach of the company’s implied contractual duty of good faith to the applicant, an employee in whom a significant amount of trust and responsibility was placed, which is evidenced by his experience, seniority and remuneration,” court documents said.

Oracle meanwhile denied that the employee’s contract of employment had an “implied contractual duty of good faith”, and that it breached his employment contract in any way.

The former account director declined to provide comment to CRN.

An Oracle Australia spokesperson told CRN the company doesn't have a comment "at this stage".

Updated 27 January 2021 12:53pm: An earlier version of the story indicated the case was an unfair dismissal claim. The story has since been updated to reflect that the case is a general protections claim. CRN Australia regrets this error.

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