Melbourne networking distributor Seltec loses unfair dismissal case

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Melbourne networking distributor Seltec loses unfair dismissal case

Melbourne networking distributor Seltec has been ordered to pay a former employee the equivalent of nine weeks' pay after losing an unfair dismissal case.

Former account manager Cansu Pilic ended her employment with Seltec in August 2017, seven months after joining the distributor.

Pilic claims her employment was terminated following a half-yearly performance review in August, which was attended by her direct manager Pratik Kumar and his brother Ritesh Kumar, a channel development manager for vendor partner Alogic, who served as an external consultant to Seltec.

According to Pilic, Ritesh Kumar become increasingly aggressive during the meeting, ultimately dismissing her from her employment at Seltec.

Following the meeting, Pilic said she told her manager that she was disappointed that an external consultant was involved in the termination. She also sent an email to Kumar requesting a separation certificate for Centrelink purposes, along with a request for payment for outstanding expense claims, annual leave and two weeks payment in lieu of notice given.

She also sent Kumar a copy of a medical certificate from an examination she attended due to stress-related symptoms stemming from the termination.

Pilic said she didn't receive any feedback on her performance during her employment, and had never been warned about her performance or attitude prior to the meeting.

Seltec denied Pilic's claims, saying the meeting was intended to review customer accounts, that Pilic had failed to support her tier one customer accounts, and that she resigned of her own accord.

Ritesh Kumar provided a similar account of the events, denying that he became aggressive during the meeting and saying he "was surprised when she decided to resign".

After evaluating the contradicting accounts, the Fair Work Commission sided with Pilic's version of events on that basis that Ritesh Kumar's behaviour was verified by another former employee, whose evidence was not challenged in cross-examination.

Noting that both employees made "reference to the aggressive behaviour of Mr Ritesh Kumar" toward employees, Fair Work commissioner David Gregory said: "Based on the evidence of Ms Pilic and Mr Caspersz I am satisfied that it is possible Mr Kumar could have acted in the way Ms Pilic describes."

The commission also took into account that Pilic's actions after the termination corresponded to an unfair dismissal rather than a resignation, including the request for documents for Centrelink purposes, which her manager did not dispute.

As a result, Seltec was ordered to pay roughly $8000, or the equivalent of nine weeks' pay to Pilic, taking into account a number of factors such as the size of the distributor and the relatively short employment period of just under seven months.

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