The planner was retrenched in December 2021 as the bank closed its retail financing planning businesses, which engaged planners in bank branches and call centres rather than providing licences and services to self-employed firms.

CBA had sought to redeploy the staffer into the financial planning business that it had transferred to insurer AIA Group as part of a referral deal.

The planner, who earned $134,000 a year plus bonuses, initially accepted the job as he believed he had no other choice because of the state of the economy at the time and CBA’s statements said he would not receive redundancy pay if he rejected the offer.

But he also told the bank, including by emailing chief executive Matt Comyn, that the offer was worse than his original position as it had no office space.

AIA agreed to look for office space for him, according to the planner’s statement of claim, but ended up promising him equipment to work from home instead.

The planner subsequently revoked his acceptance of the offer on the basis he could not work from home and needed an office to work.

Under his agreement, if a redeployment offer is less favourable than his original job he is entitled to redundancy pay.

The planner argued the offer was worse as he had had an office for 20 years and working from home is “an intrusion into [his] private home and life to which he did not consent” as well as an intrusion into the lives of his family.

“Not attending a workplace outside the home can lead to tensions with other family members,” he said in his statement of claim.

Working from home was also isolating, he argued, and can lead to “adverse health implications”.

On top of these concerns, he said his house was unsuitable for permanently working from home as there was “insufficient space to incorporate a permanent and private home office”.

Without a workplace outside of home, he argued he could not comply with confidentiality and privacy standards expected for the financial services industry.

It would also cost him more because of negative implications for capital gains tax exemptions of permanently working from home.

The planner also argues the offer had fewer bonus opportunities and limited him to clients 55 or younger when most of his previous clientele had been retirees.

He is seeking $172,000 redundancy pay in line with his agreement on top of interest payments and civil penalties.

CBA has been contacted for comment. The bank has yet to file a defence.


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