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Court rules in favour of sacked driver

Sep 5, 2013News

A rail company that sacked a driver who became sick and anxious and couldn’t go through with a competency test six weeks after an accident, has been found to have undertaken unlawful adverse action.

Railpro Services Pty Ltd was also found to have breached the Disability Discrimination Act after the judge ruled the sacking of the heavy haulage driver had also come about as a result of the driver’s mental and physical disability.

The driver had extensive experience driving heavy haulage trains in WA when he applied for an Adelaide-based job with the company.

After months of incident-free driving, he crashed into another train while driving supervised. While no one was injured, the crash caused $5million worth of damages.

An investigation found the driver was at fault, and while the company said he wouldn’t be sacked because there were mitigating circumstances, he was placed on a final warning and told he would be required to undertake further training and complete a competency-based assessment.

The driver maintained he was too ill to complete the competency test, which he attempted but was too sick to complete. The Federal Circuit Court judge agreed with the driver saying, “In my opinion, the decision-maker’s reason for [the driver’s] dismissal was because [his] health at that point in time prevented him from undertaking his duties. The [company] was requiring [the driver] to undertake duties that they knew, or at least suspected, he would be unable to perform.”