Council sacking found to break to the law

GYMPIE Regional Council broke the law when it sacked senior Planning Department officer Jill Promnitz, the Queensland Industrial Court has ruled.

In a decision handed down last week, court president, Mr Justice Martin, found the dismissal was carried out in February last year by council chief executive officer Bernard Smith in response to an allegation of misconduct against Ms Promnitz.

Ms Promnitz was the department's administrative co-ordinator at the time.

Justice Martin declared the sacking invalid on the basis of a failure to provide Ms Promnitz with legally required standards of fairness, including a right to respond to written notice of her impending dismissal.

In a judgement on April 28, he found the council had ignored the entirety of a Local Government Act section requiring the CEO to give an employee written notice of disciplinary action, grounds for the action and the chance to respond.

He agreed with an earlier Industrial Relations Commission ruling there would be "significant public inconvenience" if the validity of disciplinary action could be challenged each time there was alleged non-compliance with "some" requirements.

"In this case though, there was no compliance to any extent with the requirements," Justice Martin said.

He set aside an earlier Queensland Industrial Relations Commission finding in favour of the council and declared the sacking invalid.

Gympie Times


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