No reinstatement for worker who ignored SWMS and code

A local government worker who was accused of breaching safety guidelines, and possibly WHS laws, has failed to overturn his dismissal for operating plant in a reckless manner and showing little concern for his own and others’ safety.

In 2019, the roads maintenance supervisor was demoted by Gympie Regional Council in Queensland for breaching its ethical requirements. He was then dismissed in 2021 for operating a grass slasher in a dangerous manner in breach of the safe work guidelines.

The worker challenged both decisions in the State Industrial Relations Commission, seeking reinstatement and compensation for lost wages resulting from the demotion.

He claimed the demotion (with a $20,000 cut to his annual salary) involved a misunderstanding that led to him attempting to personally buy scrap iron from the council (without it being sold by tender, as required). He claimed he was told that if he did not accept the demotion he would be sacked.

He said the council failed to provide him with any relevant training on the State Public Sector Ethics Act 1994, and argued that such training would have equipped him to question his supervisor’s alleged offer for him to purchase the scrap iron.