A homophobic and Islamophobic driver of a BHP-Biliton subsidiary was reinstated by the Fair Work Commission after being dismissed by Mt Arthur Coal for discriminatory conduct. The driver lost five months’ worth of wages for making homophobic slurs and derogatory comments based on race and religion over a chat radio channel for workers.
He made sexually explicit comments such as referring to a colleague’s book as ’50 ways to eat cock’ and disclosed intentions to attend a Reclaim Australia rally due to a ‘complete gutful’ of how Muslims ‘think they can run the whole show’. The employee’s actions were in no doubt, breach of his employment contract, employment and workplace law, and the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).
Commissioner Leigh Johns has criticised Commissioner Saunder’s ruling for failing to properly characterise the severity of the driver’s misconduct and the totality of his actions including adverse effects of discrimination in the workplace.
Luckily for the driver, a strong employment record, his remorse and ‘fatigue’ were mitigating factors in the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reinstate his position.