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AREEA statement on FWC unfair dismissal figures

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The FWC’s media release dated 22 November 2013 states that there has been misleading statistics and commentary in relation to the success of unfair dismissal applications decided by the FWC, and that “the quoted figure for the first quarter of the 2013/14 financial year of 61% of matters decided in favour of the applicant, does not include any decisions dismissing applications under s399A, which are now reported on separately”.

AREEA rejects that the unfair dismissal statistics and commentary set out in its 2013 West Coast Industry Forum opening address, spoken by Chief Executive Steve Knott, are misleading.

In AREEA’s view, the quoted figure of 61% of matters decided in favour of the applicant correctly excludes applications that have been dismissed under section 399A of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The analysis on which AREEA’s earlier statements and statistics were based, simply compares the proportion of
“successful” versus “unsuccessful” unfair dismissal applications each quarter for the preceding nine quarters (i.e. going back more than two years).

In short, AREEA has compared in each quarter those applications found to be “fair” versus those found to be “unfair” and has calculated the percentage of successful claims based on those figures only. We have done this consistently over the past nine reports.

It would be misleading to include in these statistics data relating to applications dismissed under section 399A, because those cases have not been the subject of an arbitrated outcome. There has been no finding made as to whether the dismissal was “fair” or “unfair”. Accordingly, we reject that the data ought to have included details of applications dismissed under s399A as suggested by the FWC.

The attached document is a summary of the analysis conducted by AREEA in the preparation of its statistics and commentary. It also raises four key points arising from the matters set out in the FWC’s media release, for which AREEA seeks clarification.

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