Medical clearance given so sacking unfair
Toyota wrongfully dismissed a psychologically ill worker for allegedly being
unable to work as part of a team, with the AIRC finding he had been given
medical clearance to return to work prior to being sacked.
The case ends a tumultuous employment relationship between the Sri Lankan born
maintenance fitter and Toyota.
The worker had previously lost a discrimination case against Toyota in 2007,
when a Victorian Tribunal had ruled the company had acted appropriately when
advised he had been racially victimised and any further action against the
perpetrators could have 'threatened' the worker's safety.
He had claimed he suffered with a chronic adjustment disorder caused by the
racist taunts and graffiti.
After continuing complaints and disputes with his colleagues, the worker had a
period of sick leave and a graduated RTW in 2008; however, he was informed in
June that there was no other suitable duties within his RTW restrictions and
that as he was still unable to fulfil the inherent requirements of his job (ie
working as a part of a team) his employment would be terminated.
Hearing the unfair dismissal action, Commissioner Anna-Lee Cribb found there
was 'insufficient' medical evidence to show the worker could not perform the
inherent requirements of his job and work in a team.
Further, it was found the worker had been given medical clearance to return to
work before being dismissed.
'It is apparent that the applicant's (worker) presence in the workplace was not
without its difficulties,' Cribb said. 'However, there was no assessment made
by any of the psychiatrists that the applicant could not perform his normal
'Therefore, I find that there was not a valid reason for the termination of the
applicant's employment on the basis that he was unable to fulfil the inherent
requirements of his position as a maintenance fitter, due to his inability to
work as part of a team.'
Money instead of reinstatement
However, Cribb declined to order reinstatement finding the employment
relationship had completely broken down.
She ordered he be paid $22,317 in lieu of reinstatement.