The lengthy process followed in the dismissal of a Railway Station Master, after 37 years of employment, holds lessons for employers in their negotiations for an employee’s return to work following a long absence with illness. After two incidents of misconduct, the Station Master was demoted for a period a 12 months and placed on a performance improvement plan. Not willing to accept the terms of his demotion, he commenced a long period of sick leave, ultimately extending beyond nine months. The employer attempted numerous negotiations for a return to work during that time, even extending to a “watering down” of the disciplinary measures and the granting of a personal meeting with the CEO. In the end, an ultimatum was delivered for a response to a final offer from the employer – but the employee sought an extension of time to consult with his solicitor and his union. However, once the deadline passed, employment was terminated. The Fair Work Commission acknowledged the long-term efforts and frustration of the employer and deemed the dismissal fair – but its actions were deemed unreasonable in their ultimate haste. A proper response to the final offer should have been sought from the Station Master, with his process of consultation allowed to complete. Compensation of six weeks salary, at the level of his demoted position, was awarded.