Sack­ing was ‘harsh and un­rea­son­able’

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

The Fair Work Com­mis­sion has ruled in favour of a for­mer se­nior em­ployee at the Gor­gon Liq­ue­fied Nat­u­ral Gas Project on Bar­row Island in an un­fair dis­missal case against gas gi­ant Chevron Aus­tralia.

Last month the com­mis­sion heard Robert Solin had been a pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cian for Chevron, based on Bar­row Island, when he al­legedly made deroga­tory com­ments re­lat­ing to in­dige­nous Aus­tralians dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with co-work­ers on board a staff bus.

He was im­me­di­ately dis­missed in October, 2016 af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent which de­ter­mined his com­ments went against the com­pany’s val­ues.

How­ever, the Fair Work Com­mis­sion ruled in Mr Solin’s favour un­der the Fair Work Act.

Com­mis­sioner Bruce Williams told the hear­ing while Mr Solin’s com­ments had caused up­set and of­fence to other em­ploy­ees, his dis­missal had been “harsh and un­rea­son­able”.

He said he ac­cepted Mr Solin’s com­ments were not di­rected at any one per­son and he had apol­o­gised and appeared to have learned his les­son.

“It is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand how it can be said that Mr Solin’s mo­men­tary lack of at­ten­tion to his sur­round­ings as he sat amongst his friends at the back of the bus at 5am in the morn­ing demon­strates he does not in any way ac­cept Chevron’s val­ues,” he said.

“The ev­i­dence is that what oc­curred is the only in­stance of speak­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ately in the work­place in the three years of his em­ploy­ment with Chevron.

“There is no ba­sis to con­clude that Mr Solin has not learned his les­son and is likely to re­peat this type of be­hav­iour.”

He or­dered Mr Solin to be re­in­stated to his for­mer po­si­tion with Chevron, but did not or­der com­pen­sa­tion for his lost salary in his months of un­em­ploy­ment.

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