In another case on what is becoming a rush of decisions involving mental health claims, see Vernham v Jayco Caravans.
In this case, the employee threatened that he would “go postal” and complained to some people that he was suicidal. The company conceded that the day before the threat he was in an agitated state.
Commissioner Cribb of the Fair Work Commission found that his behaviour was caused by his mental health issues and that the company failed to consider this as part of its decision to dismiss. Despite “valid reason” being found, the termination was found to be harsh and compensation will be awarded.
Once again, the lesson is to ask those fundamental questions: “Are you ok?” or “Are there any other personal or family circumstances that we should be aware of in making our decision?” and “Having regard to your conduct, on what basis can we have any trust and confidence in you as an employee going forward in light of what you have told us?” Of course it is then CRITICAL to really take that information into account in making your decision.
Merry Christmas and see you in 2016!