Finger scan feud: $25K compo, but no reinstatement

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Finger scan feud: $25K compo, but no reinstatement

A worker embroiled in a feud over fingerprint scanning has been compensated almost $25K for unfair dismissal, however the FWC refused to reinstate him.

A worker embroiled in a feud over fingerprint scanning has been compensated almost $25K for unfair dismissal, however the FWC refused to reinstate him.

Commissioner Peter Simpson said the worker's "desire to continue to agitate issues" was likely to hinder any restoration of the employment relationship.

Background


JL was employed as a regular casual employee at a sawmill. When his employer introduced biometric scanners to record employees' attendance, he refused to use them and was subsequently dismissed. He then lodged an unfair dismissal claim.

The Fair Work Commission ruled the employer's requirement was lawful and reasonable and it had a valid reason to dismiss JL. However, this decision was overturned on appeal.

Remedy hearing


At the remedy hearing, Commissioner Simpson said the worker hadn't taken the opportunity to convince the commission trust and confidence could be restored in the employment relationship.

Instead, the worker seemed "primarily focussed" on seeking concessions from his former employer regarding the scanning system.

The commissioner also noted the "strong language" JL had used about a company director in a form 51, referring to him as "dishonest" and "deceitful".

"Even if I was to accept the applicant's evidence that his comments regarding Mr Finlayson were confined to whether the scanner did not take a fingerprint, the statement was still unjustified in that context and inappropriate," he said.

The commission found the employer had a rational basis for loss of trust and confidence in the worker, and an order for reinstatement was not appropriate.

Commissioner Simpson also took the worker and his brother to task over their conduct in the commission, saying they had "conducted themselves in a manner which displayed contempt, acting rudely, aggressively and attempting to speak over me and seeking to continue to argue with the commission after a ruling had been made."

He said the tone and content of email correspondence had also been inappropriate.

"Allegations have been made about the conduct of Commissioner Hunt, the full bench and myself which are without foundation," he said.

Read the judgment


Jeremy Lee v Superior Wood Pty Ltd T/A Superior Wood (U2018/2253)

See also: Full bench thumbs its nose at finger scan decision


 
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