This matter involves an application for costs orders arising from an appeal against the decision of Ryan C in U2014/8741. It is also a lesson that HR professionals ought to be dispassionate in their work.
Whilst this matter related to a number of factors and costs were awarded, the Commissioner stated:
“The primary evidence that the First Respondent’s application for permission to appeal was vexatious or brought for an ulterior purpose is found in the Applicant’s supporting witness statement, which refers to comments made by Cate Morris, the First Respondent’s Senior HR Advisor:
“…[e]ven if you win, we’ll appeal the decision. And if we lose that we’ll appeal the appeal and go to the Federal Court”.
“The above comments were made before Commissioner Ryan issued his decision and directly meets the first definition of vexatious: the proceeding was continued with the intention of harassing the Applicant and causing him to incur unnecessary legal costs.
“However, for the purpose of the costs application, I am prepared to proceed on the basis that on 17 December 2014 the Respondent’s Senior HR Advisor did say, “even if you win, we’ll appeal the decision. And if we lose that we’ll appeal the appeal and go to the Federal Court”.
“This statement alone is insufficient to satisfy the Commission that the Respondent initiated the appeal proceedings vexatiously”. [My emphasis].
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