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Sep 21, 2022
Transdev Melbourne Pty Ltd was sentenced, without conviction, in the Melbourne County Court after being found guilty of a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for discrimination against an employee for raising health and safety issues.
The court found that Transdev issued a written warning to a bus driver in September 2018 after he reported a bus safety issue to WorkSafe. The driver had reported that the bus was unroadworthy because a door safety module was missing; he was instructed to drive it anyway, but he refused. A few days later, after reporting a different safety issue on another bus, the driver was informed that by contacting WorkSafe he had violated company policy, and his actions amount to misconduct.
The court found there was an established pattern of the driver pursuing minor matters to a degree which was, in the view of a number of WorkSafe inspectors, unnecessary, and that could have been dealt with internally by following Transdev’s established Issue Resolution Procedure. However, the court found that Transdev had issued the warning for no other reason than because the driver had raised an issue or concern about health and safety.
The judge ruled that because of the low level of Transdev’s offending and as a single incident in otherwise unblemished conduct by a corporate entity, a financial penalty without conviction was the appropriate disposition.
After the sentencing, WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Narelle Beer, said workers who reported safety concerns were protected from discrimination under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. “Every Victorian worker has the right to a safe workplace and that includes the right to report health and safety concerns to WorkSafe, their employer, or to their workplace Health and Safety Representative or committee member,” Dr Beer commented. “It’s not always easy to speak out about safety issues at work, but it’s vital that workers feel empowered to raise safety concerns without fear of discrimination or unfair repercussions.”
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