12:33 am, Friday 23 March, 2012
An Australian nuclear facility is facing legal action when a former employee filed complaints after he was suspended and fired later on for raising work health and safety concerns.
The Australian reports that the 58-year old former technician and staff-elected health and safety officer files legal complaints for the harms he allegedly suffered after raising safety concerns over the mishandling of radioactive materials between 2007 and 2008.
“I believe I was unfairly treated and victimised after raising safety issues,” said the worker to The Australian. “After working there for 30 years, the chances of getting another comparable job are unlikely at my age.”
A spokesperson from the nuclear facility said that commenting on the matter would be inappropriate. He also said that the federal magistrate recommended that both parties pursue a settlement.
However, the complainant’s solicitor confirmed that the matter was proceeding with a statement claim lodged last week seeking compensation for loss of income and damages.
While Comcare investigated the matter and found the facility did not investigate the complainant’s allegations of bullying and harassment, they ruled that the facility did not breach section 76 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, which protects employees for raising work-related safety concerns.
The worker’s complaints lodged through the Fair Work Act are similar to those raised by two technicians against the same facility. The facility’s administrators suspended the two technicians based on the results of an inaccurate and biased in-house report in October 2010. The two workers were able to return to work last March after they have signed a confidentiality agreement.