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Employers are often in a difficult position when requested by employees to accommodate the loss or suspension of their drivers’ licence

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[No] ticket to drive – A lesson for employers

In the recent case of Mr Christopher K v Linfox Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 3967 the Fair Work Commission confirmed that there will be a valid reason for the termination of an employee’s employment where they are unable to perform the inherent requirements of their position.

In the recent case of Mr Christopher K v Linfox Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FWC 3967 the Fair Work Commission confirmed that there will be a valid reason for the termination of an employee’s employment where they are unable to perform the inherent requirements of their position.

In this matter, Mr K was employed as a full-time truck driver for Linfox at its Newcastle site. Earlier this year, whilst driving his own vehicle, Mr K was charged with, and later pleaded guilty to a mid-range driving offence. Mr K’s request to use his leave or be redeployed to another position to cover the 8 month licence suspension period was refused. Linfox terminated Mr K’s employment on the basis that as a truck driver, he was unable to perform the inherent requirements of his position because of the loss of his licence.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) agreed that Mr K’s inability to perform the inherent requirements of his position was a valid reason for the termination and found that his dismissal was not unfair, unjust or unreasonable in the circumstances. The FWC considered that it was not unreasonable for Linfox to determine that it was unable to accommodate Mr K for the 8 month suspension period until he was able to return to his duties.

Employers are often in a difficult position when requested by employees to accommodate the loss or suspension of their drivers’ licence – particularly when it is for an extended period of time but it is important to be able to demonstrate:

  • How the inability of the employee to drive (due to the drivers’ licence suspension) means he/she can’t fulfil the inherent requirements of the position.
  • Why it is not reasonable to accommodate the employee by making changes in the workplace (this may also include consideration of the duration of any drivers’ licence suspension). In looking at this an employer will need to consider whether the employee can be redeployed to another worksite, department/area or position or whether the driving duties be assigned to another employee.

 

Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

 

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