ANZ loses bid to relocate teller

By Star Weekly

The ANZ has failed in its bid to force a teller with arthritis to move to another branch after working in Hoppers Crossing for more than 20 years.

Irene Guesdon, 68, was told her role as a service consultant at the Werribee Plaza was no longer needed in July 2018 in a restructure.

The grandmother turned down another role at the branch because she said it was not comparable, and was then offered work between the Melton and Brimbank branches.

But her commute would take an extra 70 minutes a day from her Wyndham Vale home, and she argued the extra travel time and fuel costs amounted to a breach of the enterprise agreement by having an “unreasonable impact”.

Mrs Guesdon, who has arthritis in both hands, also said the Brimbank office had no teller cash recycler machine, which helped her count cash.

She argued her employment should be made redundant if a reasonable job could not be found.

The Fair Work Commission in May agreed the move would unreasonably affect Mrs Guesdon, despite accepting the ANZ acted in good faith and made genuine efforts to accommodate her.

The drive to Melton or Brimbank would take at least an extra 35 minutes each way, FWC agreed, and cost an extra $9 to $15 a week.

The bank appealed the decision, but lost with the full bench saying the decision did not raise any issue “that would enliven the public interest” to warrant it.

The May decision was particular to Mrs Guesdon’s circumstances, the full bench said, and would not establish a standard for what amounts to “an unreasonable impact”.

“The ‘worst-case’ result of the decision may be that ANZ will need to retrench Mrs Guesdon and pay her redundancy entitlements,” vice president Adam Hatcher, deputy president Alan Colman and Commissioner Donna McKenna said in their decision last week.

“If so, that would not in our view be a significant burden for an employer the size of ANZ.”

The Age