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Understanding Workplace Duties and the Impact of Unauthorised Absences: A Case Analysis

In a recent determination by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), the case of Moses Olufunminiyi Olufokunbi v Greenleaf Care Group Pty Ltd [2024] FWC 1063 sheds light on the serious consequences of neglecting workplace responsibilities, especially in sensitive environments such as care services. The decision, which can be fully accessed on [jade.io](https://jade.io/article/686543), illustrates the expectations and legal boundaries surrounding workplace duties and absences.


Understanding Workplace Duties and the Impact of Unauthorised Absences: A Case Analysis
Understanding Workplace Duties and the Impact of Unauthorised Absences: A Case Analysis

The Case Background

Greenleaf Care Group Pty Ltd, a registered NDIS provider, was tasked with providing 24/7 support to a resident in the ACT under a specified 2:1 care ratio, as required by her support plan and funding arrangements. The coordination of the house and supervision of junior support staff was entrusted to a house coordinator.


Incident and Allegations

The incident that sparked the legal challenge occurred when the house coordinator unilaterally altered the staffing arrangement to a 1:1 ratio without authorisation and subsequently left the site for an extended period. During his absence, which lasted about five hours, only one junior employee was left to manage the resident, who exhibited challenging behaviours including physical aggression.


Consequences and Commission's Findings

The junior employee, feeling unsafe and overwhelmed, reported the situation, leading to the house coordinator's immediate managerial confrontation upon his return. The coordinator’s reasons for leaving—shopping and other personal errands—were not deemed sufficient to justify his prolonged absence. Moreover, his failure to adhere to company procedures for obtaining supplies highlighted a disregard for organisational protocols.


Commissioner Donna McKenna ruled that the coordinator's actions constituted a "dereliction of responsibilities." Her decision emphasised the critical nature of adhering to approved care plans in health service settings and underscored the legitimate grounds for his dismissal.


Legal Implications and Employer Guidance

This ruling underscores the importance for supervisors in care settings to adhere strictly to operational protocols, especially those designed to protect vulnerable clients. Employers must ensure that all employees understand their roles and the significant implications of deviating from established procedures.


The FWC's decision in Moses Olufunminiyi Olufokunbi v Greenleaf Care Group Pty Ltd not only reaffirms the need for rigorous adherence to workplace duties but also highlights the potential legal repercussions of failing to do so. Employers are advised to clearly communicate job expectations and organisational policies to prevent similar incidents.


Conclusion

This case serves as a critical reminder of the responsibilities that supervisors hold in managing both staff and the welfare of those under their care. It stresses the importance of maintaining professional integrity and accountability in all actions within the workplace. For a detailed reading of the FWC's findings and the legal reasoning, readers can visit [jade.io](https://jade.io/article/686543).

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This analysis aims to provide our readers at 1800ADVOCATES with an insightful understanding into how employment responsibilities and deviations are viewed legally, helping to foster a more informed and compliant workplace culture.

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