Australia: Qantas found guilty of illegally standing down worker over aircraft cleaning safety fears during COVID-19 pandemic

ABC News Australia

Qantas has been found guilty of illegally standing down a worker who raised concerns about the COVID-19 risk to staff who were cleaning aircraft arriving from China in the early phases of the pandemic.

Theo Seremetidis worked for subsidiary Qantas Ground Services (QGS) at Sydney International Terminal as a lift truck driver in 2020 and was also an elected health and safety representative.

In a case before the NSW District Court brought by SafeWork NSW, the company was accused of standing him down in early February 2020 after he gave colleagues a direction to cease unsafe work in accordance with that function.

The case alleged this amounted to discriminatory conduct for a prohibited reason under Work Health and Safety legislation.

Judge David Russell concluded the offence had been established beyond reasonable doubt and found QGS was guilty.