The most recent unfair dismissal case on falsified timesheets
What if I am only claiming a little bit extra on my timesheet?
Ferris v Water-It Queensland Pty Ltd T/A Dig It Landscapes Pty Ltd  FWC 7158
Mr Ferris was employed as a leading hand landscape gardener by Water-It. Water-It alleged that Mr Ferris had incorrectly completed his timesheet entry for 13 March 2013, adding an hour of overtime in which he had not worked. The previous day, Mr Ferris has received a reminder that timesheets were to be completed accurately and no overtime was to be performed without prior approval on that particular project and that failure to accurately complete start and finish times could lead to disciplinary action. The timesheet said Mr Ferris finished work at 5:30, but GPS evidence showed he finished work at 4:18 and arrived home at 4:55pm. Mr Ferris did not justify his conduct or seek an opportunity to review the timesheet, diary or other documents in this meeting where the discrepancy was put to him. In the course of the hearing Mr Ferris indicated that he claimed the additional hour in lieu of a call out he attended to later that evening. However, this overtime claim had not received the required prior approval.
In considering whether there was a valid reason for dismissal relating to Mr Ferris’ conduct, Senior Deputy President Richards noted:
· Mr Ferris had filled in his timesheet incorrectly despite the previous day being reminded of the importance of accurately completing timesheets and being provided with examples of how to correctly fill out a timesheet;
· Although Mr Ferris claimed the hour was for a call out he attended later that day, he did not disclose this to his employer when given the opportunity – Mr Ferris did not avail himself of the opportunity to explain his defence. Regardless, the overtime claim had not received prior approval;
· The 1 hour discrepancy alone was sufficient reason for dismissal when combined with the deceptive manner in which Mr Ferris acted when confronted with the discrepancy and seeking to mislead his employer about the time he arrived home, as the issue of trust and confidence arose when the matter was not openly and honestly explained by Mr Ferris when the employer was making inquiries.