Anti-Discrimination NSW

Aboriginal man dismissed after workplace injury​

Conciliation - race and disability discrimination

The complainant was an Aboriginal man who worked as a casual storeperson. He said there were several incidents at his workplace where he was given warnings for minor rule infractions which were common practice and for which other non-Aboriginal staff were not cautioned.

He then had a workplace injury which temporarily limited his ability to lift heavy weights, and he took some sick leave to recover. He had expressed interest in a permanent position but was not told about positions that became available while he was away. When he returned to work, he asked about this and said the warehouse manager told him that he was injured and the jobs had to go to someone. He also said he was pressured to resume normal duties early, against medical advice.

After further incidents where the complainant felt he was unfairly singled out for reprimands, he was accused of a minor theft and was dismissed. He believed this did not amount to serious misconduct and was used as an excuse to dismiss him. He made a complaint of race and disability discrimination.

After some debate about who was responsible for the actions being complained about, the employer attended conciliation. The complaint was resolved when the company agreed to provide the complainant with a statement of service, a written apology and a letter of commitment to anti-discrimination training. They also made an ex-gratia payment to him.

Back to May 2016 - Equal Times ​Newsletter​​​​

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