AMSJ » Mine Worker Caught Smoking and Sleeping Underground Has Unfair Dismissal Claim Rejected by Fair Work Commission

Mine Worker Caught Smoking and Sleeping Underground Has Unfair Dismissal Claim Rejected by Fair Work Commission

Mine worker sacked unfair dismissal case

A mine worker who was caught smoking underground, sleeping underground, and was repeatedly late for shift has (unsurprisingly) lost his unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission.

Despite being issued with three written warnings and several verbal warnings over a 12 month period, Dean Harrison claimed he was unfairly dismissed in March 2014 from his employment at the Golden Grove Project, an underground gold mining operation in Western Australia.


Mr Dean was employed to work on the site by contractor Redpath Australia.

Mr Dean told the Commission  that he had never seen any copies ”or anything regarding his safety review’ and that the “safety review was all good” and “there was nothing there about tardiness.”

The evidence presented to the Commission in the unfair dismissal by Mr Harrison included the following quoted statements:

“I was given a verbal – when over 14 months I was onsite for I received one verbal and one written in that time for being – turning up late for work and both times were within a matter of like 10 or 15 minutes so I just missed my lift and I was on the next bus”.

“I just find the actual even on the written warnings and verbal warnings I received they’re marked down as minor or moderate. There are no serious offences being, like have happened. And then for the third reason, competence to complete a simple task safely. Warehouse incident. Like for that to make a, on the show cause letter, I moved over 100 pods onsite, sir and accidents do happen. Even the response in the incident report, the response back from Brisbane and it’s dated which I have here somewhere, which I have here, very good incident reporting and response work. I did everything I could, followed all procedures and once again, yes, just for the collective group of the things I’ve been terminated for I feel harshly treated.”

The Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission in the unfair dismissal found that Mr Harrison had not adequately shown good cause why he should not have been dismissed.

“The Applicant’s (Mr Harrison’s) evidence is unconvincing and does not address some of the conduct that lead to the dismissal, notwithstanding that the Respondent (Redpath) addressed in detail and provided documentary material supporting its contentions,” the Deputy President reported in his findings.

I have concluded that the Applicant has no reasonable prospect of succeeding in his application.”

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AMSJ April 2022