A large group of workers at Mackillop Family Services’ Family Relationship Service in Broadmeadows recently received allegations of ‘Misconduct or Serious Misconduct’. There were supposed discrepancies with leave applications.

After the intervention of a dedicated ASU delegate, with the support of an ASU organiser, members were defended, and ultimately all claims of misconduct or serious misconduct were withdrawn.

Upon receiving the initial letters, ASU members immediately sought assistance, and the ASU was by their side the whole time as they defended themself against the unfounded allegations.

There are issues with the pay system at Mackillop Family Services. Mackillop Family Services management and HR relied on shaky grounds to force an issue that ultimately did not stand up to basic scrutiny.

An internal investigation took place, with interviews carried out by HR at Mackillop Family Services.

It became apparent the allegations and process of the investigation were fundamentally flawed:

  • no initial enquiries were made by management with members before allegations of ‘Misconduct or Serious Misconduct’ were made by MFS;
  • no assessment of the alleged ‘evidence’ took place before the allegations were made;
  • HR regularly refused union members the right to union representation and were hell-bent on reducing the role of the union to that of a passive ‘support person’;
  • the line of questioning from HR was often hostile going down the path of ‘entrapment’, which often looked like scenes from a B-Grade detective movie;
  • making written allegations about ‘Misconduct or Serious Misconduct’ without evidence, or a reasonable belief is completely unacceptable and can trigger counter-claims or damage the health and well-being of employees.

At the end of this lengthy, hotly contested and drawn-out process, management withdrew all allegations against every worker with no findings or disciplinary outcomes whatsoever.

While we can be rightfully satisfied with the outcome, without ASU members standing together, this could have had a different ending.

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