At the time of his dismissal, the applicant occupied the position of Finance Manager, a role he had occupied for around five years. He is 60 years old and had worked for the respondent in various roles, commencing as a part time bookkeeper in 1987. He has been given substantial financial support by the respondent to upgrade his professional qualifications over the years.  This included the payment of study leave and tuition fees for both a graduate diploma and a master’s degree.

The respondent is a not-for-profit charity that is predominantly government funded. It employs approximately 150 staff and in the financial year to June 2013 had total revenue of nearly $10 million, most of which came from the Commonwealth government.

The respondent dismissed the applicant on the grounds that he had:

  • Deliberately and dishonestly abused his role in administering the respondent’s staff loans scheme, processing loans for himself in such a way whereby he deliberately avoided repayment to the respondent of a compulsory 6 per cent fee
  • Deliberately overpaid himself a substantial amount of superannuation
  • Acted in an inappropriate and threatening manner towards the (then) Human Resources Manager and the (then) CEO, when he approached both of them outside the respondent’s premises, where he “mocked” the CEO, took photographs and video of the CEO and HR Manager. When asked by the HR Manager why he was taking “photographs” became agitated and aggressive towards him, which included approaching him with his fists clenched
  • Breached the respondent’s confidence when, without prior authority to do so, forwarded an email exchange between himself and the CEO to the Australian Services Union (ASU) that included the salary details of nine senior managers at the respondent, collectively referred to as the ‘executive management team
  • Failed to follow several reasonable and lawful directions to return a motor vehicle owned by the respondent during a lengthy period of unpaid leave contrary to a specific policy
  • Other instances of misconduct came to light after the dismissal, involving thousands of dollars on an e-tag account

The decision considered all the above matters and the procedural process followed by the respondent.  The commissioner also:

“…considered whether the applicant’s personal circumstances, including his health, age and long service with the respondent in any way made his dismissal unfair. I am satisfied that they did not. His behaviour was deliberate and dishonest. He sought to enrich himself at his employer’s (and indirectly the taxpayer’s) expense.

Mr Dang’s dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable. His application is dismissed.”

[1] Danh Dang v Cabramatta Community Centre (U2013/13793)

Greg Reiffel Industrial Relations & Human Resources Consulting has been providing the following services to businesses for over 30 years:


  • General HR and IR advisory service.
  • Fair Work Commission representation (eg unfair dismissals, adverse actions, etc.).
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  • Policies and procedures.
  • Discipline & Termination.
  • People Audits (are you at risk of prosecution?).
  • Enterprise Agreements, Contracts of Employment, Individual Flexibility Agreements.
  • On-site HR services.

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