Two guards worked together, and their main role was to pick-up, transport, and deliver money in an armoured vehicle for the clients of their security firm. They picked up a shipment of about $59,000 from the office of a client. On their way to transport the money, they noticed that the outer doors of the vehicle would not properly close, yet the alarm system was not triggered.
The crew leader decided to call their logistics coordinator seeking permission to have the vehicle checked. The coordinator informed them that if they did not finish their delivery run, there were no other delivery teams available to complete their run. Thus, even when their vehicle doors and alarm system were malfunctioning, they continued their run. To keep the money safe, they put it in the transfer safe in the vehicle. At the depot, after their run, while the vehicle was being unloaded, the crew leader forgot to remind the other guard to take the money from the transfer safe. The other guard forgot all about the money inside the transfer safe in the vehicle. He had another job after he finished his work at the security firm. He did not want to be late for his second job.
Three days later when the vehicle was sent to be repaired, the transfer case was stolen with the money still inside it. The money was eventually recovered, but the 2 guards were summarily dismissed for negligence.
The crew leader was summarily dismissed primarily because she approached the vehicle when its doors were open, thus, endangering her own life. She was also dismissed because the money was stolen. They were not authorized to place money in a transfer case. More importantly, they failed to check the vehicle before leaving it and they failed to empty out the transfer case before turning the vehicle over at the depot. These, according to the security firm, were negligent acts that warranted summary dismissal.
Both guards lodged unfair dismissal applications after the termination of their employment. The Fair Work Commission found that when the security firm summarily dismissed the two guards, it failed to consider some factors that should have merited a lighter penalty for their carelessness.
First, the duty to empty the transfer safe did not belong to the crew leader but to the other guard. Second, the crew leader was preoccupied with doors that malfunctioned all through their run on that day, especially when the alarm system in the vehicle did not turn on even when the doors did not close properly. Third, this type of door and alarm malfunction situation was not one that they had been trained in, nor was this type of situation covered in the company’s handbook. Thus, the two guards did not know what to do. Fourth, they had asked for help and for relief, but they were not given any assistance with the doors or with the delivery of the money. They were told that they would have to complete the run even when their doors and alarm were malfunctioning. That was the stressful situation the two guards found themselves in.
Thus, termination was too harsh and too drastic a penalty for their carelessness. The crew leader could have been demoted, they could have been reprimanded, counselled or even suspended. They could have been sent for re-training and they could have been given a final warning. The security firm did not even consider these alternative penalties. Both guards were ordered reinstated. The crew leader was awarded $40,000 and the other guard was awarded $29,000 as compensation for lost income.
Source: Kelly Bedford v Linford Armaguard Pty Ltd T/A Linford Armaguard  FWC 7574 (13 December 2018)