Unfair Dismissal and Safety Breaches

A recent post, a very dangerous precedent, by one of my favorite commentators, Sue Bottrell, raised the eyebrows of a few in the safety community, because she dealt with a case where an employee who had their employment terminated for breaching safety procedures was reinstated by the Australian employment tribunal, the Fair Work Commission.


Whatever health and safety people might think about these sorts of decisions, it is entirely consistent with established precedent. While breaches of health and safety requirements might give an employer a pima face right to terminate an employee's employment, that "right", still needs to be exercised fairly. It is not uncommon for terminations based on safety to be overturned, and employees reinstated.


I have written about this topic before, and links to previous articles on an earlier blog, My Safety Thoughts, are set out below if you are interested.


Unfair dismissal, delphic motherhood statements and other observations on safety documentation


Boal V BHP – Zero Tolerance: Are your “systems” commensurate to your attitudes?


Swearing at work: Where are we now?


Termination of Work Health and Safety Officer


There are many cases that look at the issue of terminating employees for health and safety breaches, and over the next few weeks I will start posting cases that look at the issue, so please subscribe to my blog to keep updated.

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