A vehicle services attendant at Hertz applied to the Fair Work Comission for unfair dismissal remedy after he was sacked for providing false information on his CV.
Suspicions about the employee arose after he lodged an apparently dubious workers’ compensation claim.
He claimed that he sustained a shoulder injury from lifting a 10-litre water can to refill windscreen washer fluid, even though 10-litre cans weren’t supplied onsite and the employer provided one-litre cans for this task.
Despite Hertz’s doubts about the authenticity of his claim, the employee received compensation from the company’s provider.
A few months after the payout, the employee then made a series of formal complaints about his employment to WorkSafe, the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service.
He also made a complaint about discrimination to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and submitted an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Hertz’s HR manager said some of his complaints were “completely frivolous and unmeritorious”.
Following these complaints, and issues with the employee’s argumentative and difficult behaviour at work, the decision was made to investigate the attendant’s employment history and check if he had filed any formal complaints against his previous employers.
It was discovered that the attendant filed an unfair dismissal claim against a former employer in 2011, however his CV stated he worked at that company for four years after that date.
Loss of trust
As the employee was the point of contact for returned vehicles, Hertz was reliant on his honesty and integrity, particularly if valuables were left behind by customers. The deceptive information on the CV threw his propriety into question.
Following their finding, Hertz management scheduled a meeting with the attendant to discuss his alleged misconduct. He was allowed 24 hours to prepare for the meeting and arrange to have a support person present if he wished.
After the employee failed to attend the meeting, he was emailed notification of his dismissal later that day.
The attendant then lodged an unfair dismissal claim.
He claimed that he advised Hertz about “a mistake” on his CV prior to commencing employment (the same error that influenced his dismissal) and submitted that the employer did not take into account his actions to correct this inaccuracy prior to starting the job.
However, the validity of this claim became doubtful when it was later discovered the employee’s CV contained a number of other factual errors relating to employment periods, which he did not allege to have reported.
The commissioner stated: “I did not find Mr Tham to be a very credible witness. Mr Tham feigned ignorance when it suited him, was prone to exaggeration and I found much of his evidence to be inconsistent and self-serving. Mr Tham would give evidence and, upon realising that his evidence may not assist his case, would proceed to give conflicting evidence with implausible explanations as to why his evidence was inconsistent.”
Even though the Fair Work Commission found that Hertz acted “hastily upon [the employee’s] failure to attend the scheduled meeting” and did not provide him “sufficient opportunity to respond” to the allegation, the reason for the dismissal was valid and the “mistakes” the employee claimed to have made on his CV “were not only intentional, they were also misleading”.
The claim was dismissed.