Today, Mar 23rd 2017

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Sacked for Doing his Job

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It was my pleasure to represent Greg Newman in an unfair dismissal matter earlier this year,

Greg found himself out in the cold after his employer (who cannot be named for legal reasons) sacked him for effectively doing his job and protecting the public.

You see, Greg worked as a security guard, a profession in which he takes great pride and has worked for most of his adult life.

Back in December 2015, Greg was confronted with an unruly and highly inebriated man who posed a danger to himself and the general public.

Greg was threatened both verbally and physically and reacted on instinct to avoid a heated exchange escalating to a violent confrontation.

Greg acted within his powers and within the law and safely detained this gentlemen before he was handed over to the police.

The police informed Greg that this person was likely to be charged with public drunkenness and affray.

The next step beggars belief!

Greg completed the necessary reports for his employer and two days later was called in and stood down pending an investigation into the incident.

After the company completed their so called ‘full and thorough investigation’, they alleged Greg had assaulted the bloke and was dismissed without notice!

I was amazed to learn that the company’s investigation stopped short of obtaining statements from the others who witnessed the incident.

Greg’s partner on the shift and another transport operator. Both happen to be proud members of the TWU and were prepared to stand by Greg and support his handling a difficult situation.

The company’s line was mind blowing - they believed they didn’t need to review any evidence other than CCTV footage.

And when we finally obtained the footage we thought we must have been viewing coverage of a different incident entirely.

The company’s version of events did not match the vision we were presented with!

Greg was told he should have just walked away and let this person go and let him become someone else’s problem!

Greg was unable to do this as it went against all of his training and obligations to act in the public’s best interest.

The person involved was clearly spoiling for a fight that night and was ready to take on whoever was in front of him!

Right from the get go, we knew this case would likely end up in court.

We have tussled with the company before and they are difficult to say the least.

A Fair Work Commission hearing was set for the end of April.

I assisted TWU lawyer Adam Dzieciol in preparing witness statements and submissions.

We were confident we had a strong argument and had prepared well to put the best foot forward for Greg.

Just five days before the hearing, we received the submissions and witness statements from the lawyers acting for the company.

It was amazing how many witnesses, who had nothing to do with the incident, or with Greg’s direct employment with the company, were apparently going to be part of the court proceedings!

However, win, lose or draw Greg was happy he was going to have his day in court and would have the chance to finally have his side of the story heard.

Then three days before the court date, we were contacted by the firm’s lawyers – I think we had them worried!

They put an offer on the table for Greg after previously completely ruling out the possibility.

After some discussion they upped the offer to the point where Greg – an innocent man - was satisfied and he could get on with his life.

The company retracted the dismissal, provided a statement of service and agreed to disagree with us on the version of events surrounding the incident back in December.

I am pleased to report that Greg has some work through TWU Organiser John Cutrali, who helped Greg get a foot in the door.

All the best to you Greg, stay strong!