COURT BACKS HSR: QANTAS FOUND GUILTY

A Qantas-subsidiary has been found guilty of unlawful discriminatory conduct against a HSR during the early stages of COVID-19, ruling that though the HSRs consultation was flawed, that did not invalidate his ‘cease-work’.

The HSR directed that Qantas Ground Services staff cease cleaning planes arriving from China, due to uncontrolled risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Qantas sidelined him, kept him away from employees seeking his help, and eventually sent him home from work. The court said Qantas did this because they saw his directions as a threat to their business.

The company now faces penalties of up to $500,000 after the judge found the dominant reason Qantas stood him down was that he had exercised or performed a function as an HSR.

SafeWork NSW charged Qantas for discriminating against the HSR.

The TWU has applauded the verdict, saying it will ‘enhance the strength and the courage of HSRs to protect their colleagues. This landmark decision will make workplaces safer.’

SafeWork NSW v Qantas Ground Services Pty Ltd [2023] NSWDC 468 (16 November 2023)

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