Antonios Dionisopoulos v Business Risk International
Pty Ltd t/as Business Risk International  FWA
The applicant commenced employment with Business Risk
International in December 2009 as a casual security guard and was
appointed to a permanent position in June 2010.
The applicant was stationed at the RMIT Bundoora campus. He had
an altercation with his team leader, Mr Brian Jackson, in late 2010
with respect to the 'payment' of $20. He made a written
complaint about the matter. As a result of the investigation that
arose from the complaint, Mr Jackson was counselled and the $20 was
returned to the applicant.
On 24 July 2011, the applicant was 10 minutes late for work. Mr
Jackson tried to contact him, including through the National
Operations Centre. The applicant confronted Mr Jackson in that
regard. There was a heated exchange which led to a colleague, Ms
Galea, intervening, and then the applicant lodging a complaint
against Mr Jackson. The complaint led to an investigation which
found that both men had been aggressive and used inappropriate
The applicant was called in for an interview with respect to the
incident on 2 August 2011. There was conflicting evidence about
whether he was offered to bring a support person. He was not
provided with written notice in advance as to the subject matter of
the meeting. The applicant was told that he was to be transferred
to the RMIT Business School site in Bourke Street. He objected on
the basis of the cost of parking and a fear of public transport due
to a previously undisclosed medical condition. His contract
specified that he must accept transfers.
The applicant became angry and violent, swearing and slamming
The applicant did not disclose on his employment form that he
had a nervous or mental disorder that might affect his ability to
carry out his job. The application form says on the front that
'you are under no compulsion to complete the form'.
The applicant did complete it but was not honest in his
responses, which was considered different to electing not to
Following the outburst at the meeting, and on the same day, the
applicant's employment was terminated via letter, for gross
misconduct. The applicant was legally represented at the time he
filed his application for unfair dismissal, however, his
representatives gave notice that they ceased to act on 6 December
The applicant called the respondent's witnesses
'malakas' on leaving the courtroom at the lunchtime
adjournment of the hearing, which did not assist his cause.
Commissioner Bissett looked at whether the applicant's
dismissal was harsh, unjust and unreasonable.
It was emphasised that the termination on the basis of serious
misconduct arose from the actions of the applicant at the meeting
on 2 August 2011, and not from the previous difficulties with Mr
Jackson. The applicant was terminated because of his aggressive,
violent and offensive actions and words on 2 August 2011. This was
a valid reason for termination.
Commissioner Bissett then looked at whether the
applicant's conduct amounted to serious misconduct with
reference to the definition of same in the Fair Work Regulations.
He stated that:
'There is, in my opinion, no question that the conduct
engaged in by Mr Dionisopoulos on 2 August 2011 was wilful and
deliberate behaviour inconsistent with the continuation of the
contract of employment. The language was highly inappropriate,
taking into account the workplace and the meeting where the
exchange occurred. The aggression shown was unnecessary. There is
no excuse for this behaviour.'
In those circumstances, the conduct was serious misconduct and
the dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable. The
application was dismissed.
It was noted that the respondent had subsequently put in place
improved procedures for advising employees of the purpose of any
meeting they may be called to attend. This was commended, however,
its absence at the time the applicant was called in for a
counselling meeting did not invalidate that meeting or affect the
validity of the termination, including because the termination
arose from subsequent behaviour.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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