This AFR article reported that a Fair Work Commission full bench quashed one of its unfair dismissal rulings for being “unsafe” because it found a worker was harshly sacked for drinking 10 beers the day before his shift.
The resources and energy industry welcomed the decision as a shift away from so-called “social judgments” that award payouts for harshness, and has called for the removal of the commission’s discretion over serious safety breaches.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association had warned the original decision would “absurdly” act as an incentive for employees who breach safety rules to seek financial compensation. AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said employers were “hopeful” that the latest decision was “a step in the right direction and stops the undermining of workplace health and safety protocols”. “When it comes to safety there can be no compromise. That’s why AMMA is calling for the removal of this discretionary power where a serious safety breach has occurred and is proven. “Sadly, sometimes you don’t get a second chance when it comes to Offshore oil and gas a “safety-critical industry”.