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Public scrutiny meant sacking was valid, but summary dismissal too harsh

An employee's attempt to expose a public figure's "coercive control" amounted to serious and sackable misconduct, but summary dismissal was too harsh a sanction, the Fair Work Commission has ruled.

The employee, who worked as an electorate officer in the Department of Finance – specifically in then Senator Kristina Keneally's office – was placed on personal leave after the office's chief of staff identified a number of performance and conduct issues.

While on leave, he was contacted by an unsuccessful Liberal Party candidate, who alleged a former Member of the House of Representatives had exercised coercive control over her to influence a preselection process, and that this had been motivated by a personal breakup between them.

After their discussion, the employee contacted the former Member, who denied the incident...

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