Kylie Jeffrey v IBM Australia Limited (U2012/13165, DEPUTY PRESIDENT MCCARTHY

Ms Kylie Jeffrey (the Applicant) was employed by IBM Australia Limited (IBM) on a full time basis as a Business Analyst from 28 June 2010. Prior to her employment with IBM the Applicant stated that she had been employed from 12 January 2009 as a Business Analyst with Qantas Airways Ltd (Qantas) through the Qantas/IBM Indigenous Information Technology Employment Partnership.

 

The Applicant stated that she suffered a stress related injury as a result of exposure to stressors at work. The stressors she referred to were “bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and racial harassment”. The Applicant stated that she took extended sick leave (of 12 months) available to her under her contract of employment.

 

This very lengthy decision is best summed up by the DP:

 

”Amount of absences

 

There was a significant amount of time that the Applicant was absent. The absences included a long period of paid sick leave, substantial periods of unpaid leave and a series of absences for which workers compensation was claimed. I do not suggest that the absences were avoidable. The extent of these absences should have been a cause for the Applicant to fully cooperate in any RTWPs. However the evidence outlined above illustrates that the Applicant did not cooperate but rather frustrated efforts to have a reasonable programme for her return to work. This influenced my decision not to issue an order.”

 

The DP went on to effectively dismiss the matter refusing reinstatement or compensation.

 

Commentary

 

Apart from the VERY generous sick leave entitlement provided by IBM, the applicant failed to fully cooperate with any Return to Work Plan. These plans are important and must be reasonable (on both sides) with the aim of a sustainable return to duties. In this matter the applicant failed to appreciate the importance of the RTW process.

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

 

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