On 14 December 2021 in the matter of Soliman v The Cultural Office of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait,[1] Chamberlains Law Firm successfully represented the Applicant employee with the Court awarding judgment in the employee’s favour making an order for the employer to pay the employee the entire disputed sum of $20,000.

The matter centred on termination of the employee following an improperly investigated complaint. The employee was called into a meeting with the employer and put on notice of a complaint that had been lodged about his conduct.

The employee was given no notice of the meeting or the complaint, and whilst he outright denied any wrongdoing on his part, the employee was not given any opportunity to respond to the allegations or have a proper investigation undertaken.

The case also considered the employer’s failure to pay the employee’s notice and entitlements upon termination, as well as interpretation of the “regularly imprecise” employment contract.

The case serves to signify the obligation placed on employers to ensure due process and procedural fairness is followed during an investigation into a complaint. His Honour found that in the face of the employee’s denial of any wrong-doing, the employer was not permitted to summarily dismiss the employee without:

  • giving proper notice;
  • conducting a proper investigation which involved the Applicant; and
  • an adequate hearing.

Additionally, the case highlights the importance of crystal-clear wording in contracts of employment. The contract was “curiously worded” and purported to be governed by “the generally acknowledged principal of international law”.

His Honour referred to several authorities in finding that when considering the construction of a contract, the interpretation and meaning must be determined objectively. Additionally, His Honour made a point to note that no such “generally acknowledged principle of international law” has ever been identified.

[1] [2021] FedCFamC2G 351