Question (a): No – the Financial Manager can’t refuse to restore the Accountant’s salary. He was not entitled to reduce his salary without good reason or prior consultation. The reduction would constitute a unilateral change of a condition of employment. After he has restored the salary, the Financial Manager would be entitled to consult with the Accountant about the apparent salary misalignment. If the Accountant accepts the reduction, the issue would be resolved. If he rejects it, the Financial Manager could proceed with the s189 procedure to correct the misalignment.
Question (b): No – he can’t discipline the Accountant for simply reading the email. The Accountant was apparently an innocent party when he received and read the email. He could be disciplined for misconduct if he then shared the confidential email with others who were not entitled to see it.