Qantas found guilty of 2020 ‘sidelining’ of worker warning colleagues of COVID dangers on flights from China

Qantas found guilty of 2020 ‘sidelining’ of worker warning colleagues of COVID dangers on flights from China
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Qantas has been found guilty of a criminal charge relating to a worker who was sacked in the early stages of the pandemic a NSW district court judge has ruled.

    The court today heard from SafeWork NSW who proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Qantas breached park six of the Work Health and Safety Act and discriminated against Theo Seremetidis who lost his job after he advised colleagues to stop working on flights arriving from China in early 2020.

    Judge David Russell accepted the submissions from SafeWork that centre around the ‘sidelining’ of the Qantas Ground Service worker.

    “Firstly… By cutting him off from other staff who were seeking his help,” Russell, said.

    “And secondly, by standing him down and requiring him to leave the airport forthwith.

    “I find that (Qantas Ground Services) saw the giving of the directions by Mr Seremetidis to cease work as a threat to the conduct of business and in particular, a threat to the ability of (Qantas Ground Services) to clean and service aircraft and get them back in the air.”

    “I formed the view that he (Seremetidis) attempted to carry out his duties as a health and safety representative conscientiously and carefully.”

    “How Qantas responds to this verdict will be one of the first tests of the promise made by the airline that it has turned over a new leaf. Historically, Qantas has dragged out every possible legal challenge, with Goyder still refusing to accept that illegally outsourcing 1700 ground and fleet presentation workers was wrong,” national secretary, Transport Workers Union, Michael Kaine, said.

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