Southey, Kim and Innes, Peter (2010) Gender and firmographic effects in unfair dismissal arbitration. In: 10th Annual Pacific Employment Relations Association Conference, 15-18 Nov 2010, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia.
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This study involved the analysis of 935 unfair dismissal arbitration decisions of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission from 2000 to 2005. It explores whether gender effects were present in the arbitration decisions, and whether dismissed employees received different arbitration decisions according to firmographic factors of industry sector, size of firm, occupational skill and HR expertise. The study shows major findings supporting the role of HR expertise in lowering the favourability towards grievants. In terms of gender effects a logistic regression analysis suggests two interesting effects, aligned with bivariate analysis, which suggested male arbitrators were associated with favourable decisions toward female workers and female arbitrators were associated with favourable decisions toward low skilled grievants. Such findings support our typology which positions male arbitrators as paternalistic and chivalrous, and female arbitrators as path breaking. These findings have implications for HR/IR professionals, unions, industry bodies and government policy and legislation in terms of how we manage sections of our workforce and protect vulnerable workers.
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