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Unfair DismissalMarch 7, 2016
The Federal Court has ordered the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to reconsider a Qantas pilot’s unfair dismissal result. The pilot was found by the FWC to have been fairly dismissed after he touched his female colleague’s breast during a weekend stopover in Santiago in 2014.
Steven Gregory, despite his long service working for Qantas, was dismissed for serious misconduct. At the time of the alleged misconduct, it was found that Gregory also had alcohol and cannabis in his system.
The FWC originally ruled Qantas had acted fairly when they chose to dismiss Gregory, and a full bench of the FWC denied Gregory permission to appeal his case. However, a recent ruling by the Federal Court has granted Gregory the opportunity to appeal his dismissal.
The Federal Court believes Qantas’s decision to terminate Gregory’s employment was based solely on the inappropriate touching of his female colleague, rather than his elevated cannabinoids (an active group of compounds found in marijuana) levels.
Gregory claims he did not knowingly ingest cannabis, but that his drink was spiked, which lead to his out of the ordinary behaviour. He claims he has no recollection of the events, and has apologised to his co-worker.
The FWC had dismissed Gregory’s claim his drink was spiked, stating it was plainly implausible, and backed Qantas’s decision to terminate him.
In order for Gregory to prove to the FWC his dismissal was indeed unfair, he will need to prove Qantas did not take into proper consideration that his drink may have been spiked and this is what ultimately lead to his unusual behaviour. He also needs to prove, whatever the reasoning for his serious misconduct, his dismissal was harsh based on his long and good service to the airline, and the consequences the dismissal has had on him.
Terminating an employee is never easy, which is why it is always best to seek professional advice. Employsure can advise on the correct policies and procedures for terminating employees, and how to follow a fair process. If you have any questions relating to employee misconduct, or drug and alcohol abuse, contact us today on 1300 651 415.
Sourced via HC Online