Court finds mine worker was unfairly dismissed

A JUDGE has found Clermont Coal breached the Fair Work Act when a supervisor unfairly considered a worker's union duties when assessing redundancy options.

The Australian Federal Court found in favour of Clermont Mine worker Alan John Scott, who was forcibly made redundant in November last year.

Mr Scott had worked at the Clermont Mine since 2008 as a heavy equipment operator and also became a delegate for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in 2012.

The court found mining supervisor Wayne Fleming, who was acting haulage superintendent, assessed Mr Scott for a forced redundancy and gave him a low score based on some heated dealings he'd had with the union representative.

In his judgment made earlier this month, Federal Court Justice John Reeves said Clermont Coal announced in September last year it would cut about 100 full time jobs.

After some employees came forward for voluntary redundancies, the company scored workers based on their performance, previous warnings, attitude and skills to determine who should be forced to leave.

Mr Scott's total assessment score was considered among the lowest but there was evidence given at court which stated he was an acceptable worker, the judgment said.

Justice Reeves said two people scored Mr Scott.

After hearing reasons from Mr Fleming about why he gave Mr Scott low scores, Justice Reeves found Mr Fleming was distracted from his difficult relationship with Mr Scott "which stemmed from his terse dealings with him as a CFMEU executive member".

Without this low score, which was made because of a "prohibited reason", Justice Reeves said Mr Scott might not have been declared redundant.

Justice Reeves has asked the union, representing Mr Scott, and Clermont Coal for submissions about what costs should be made following this decision. - APN NEWSDESK


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