Sacking appeal dismissed
By LUIS FELIU
THE NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) has rejected an unfair-dismissal claim by a former Tweed Shire Council em-ployee who was sacked last year after a series of alleged disciplinary breaches.
Deputy president of the NSW IRC Rod Harrison found that the termination of Paul Damian Taylor's employment after 10 years as a water-treatment-plant operator at Bray Park in October last year, was not harsh or unfair and that he had been afforded procedural fairness throughout the warning and disciplinary process.
Mr Harrison said evidence was given that Mr Taylor had been confrontational and abusive to his supervisor and that despite given the chance to defend the allegation, had chosen not to.
The two-and-a-half-day hearing ended yesterday in Tweed Heads courthouse, with several senior council officers, including former general manager Dr John Griffin, giving evidence.
Mr Taylor's counsel Andrew Mulcahy had argued that his client had been unfairly dismissed as the series of com-plaints against him which led to several warnings and eventual sacking were petty in nature.
The complaints included unauthorised use of a council motor vehicle and visits to the council depot and abusing his immediate supervisor.
Mr Mulcahy had told the hearing some of the charges against Mr Taylor had been unfairly brought as he was undergoing independent mediation with his supervisor at the time.
But council's solicitor Michael Easton said Mr Taylor held a mistaken view that because he was in mediation and had also lodged complaints with the Daly inquiry into council, ICAC and the Ombudsman criticising the management of the water-treatment plant, that he would not be held accountable for his actions or be sanctioned.
Mr Easton said Mr Taylor's series of complaints over alleged mismanagement of the plant had been dealt with in detail or re-jected and that he had refused an offer to transfer him to another job with council after conflicts with his supervisor.
Mr Taylor's other claim of victimisation had also earlier been rejected.