Hall Payne Lawyers scores record $1.27m compensation for adverse action claim
After being awarded $630k for injuries sustained at work, our client was stood down by Rio Tinto. Along with the CFMEU, we alleged they took adverse action because our client had sought out compensation for his injuries. The Court agreed, awarding a record $1.27 million.
It’s been a long couple of years for CFMEU member Michael Haylett. In 2010 Mr Haylett injured his neck driving a bulldozer at the Hail Creek Mine. Rio Tinto, operators of the mine, admitted that it was their negligence that had caused the injury. Mr Haylett returned to an altered position, working as a drill rig operator for three years following the injury. At the same time, he sought compensation for his injury and the ongoing impact it would have on him. In late 2013 he was awarded $630,000 compensation by the Queensland District Court.
Less than a week after that decision was handed down Mr Haylett was stood down. Rio Tinto asserted this was because he didn’t have a valid health assessment, with the mining giant attempting to justify these actions as necessary for compliance with the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld).
The Court has repeatedly found these reasons to be hollow. Across two Supreme Court cases, a Court of Appeal decision, and the most recent decision of the Federal Court, the stand down has been found to be contrived. Across these decisions different Courts have labelled Rio Tinto’s conduct as disgraceful and recalcitrant, while commenting on the resilience of Mr Haylett.
That resilience and commitment to asserting his rights has paid off. In what is a record amount of compensation in the Employment area, Mr Haylett has been awarded $1.272 million, plus interest, for the adverse action taken by Rio Tinto. Along with the fine imposed on Rio Tinto earlier this week, their decision to ignore the rights of this worker has been a costly one.
Hall Payne Lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of workers. While the best situation would be for Mr Haylett not to be in this situation at all, this award of compensation means he has the financial support to sustain him in whatever comes next.
If you believe your employer has treated you unfairly or prevented you from exercising your workplace right, we can help. Contact HPL Principal Luke Tiley and HPL Associate Will Ash on 1800 659 114 or via our online inquiry form.
This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.
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