A Good News Story as Bunbury HSUWA member wins back his job

Friday 25 Sep 2020

“Harsh, unfair and disproportionate”. These were the words of the Public Sector Appeal Board (PSAB) in determining that HSUWA member and union rep, Ted Picks, was unfairly dismissed. Ted was dismissed on 7 November 2019 and 10 months after the original decision to dismiss, the PSAB ordered that he be reinstated without loss.

Through tough financial and emotional times, as the sole income earner for a large family, Ted and the HSUWA pursued the matter through the state tribunal. Ted had been employed by Western Australian County Health Service (WACHS) as a Security Officer for 10 years. In July 2019, Ted was convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm in relation to an incident between him and a member of his extended family.

Section 150(3) of the Health Services Act 2016 (WA) provides that “... if an employee is convicted or found guilty of a serious offence, the employing authority may take such disciplinary action or improvement action… as the employing authority considers appropriate.” In reliance on that provision, he was dismissed by the Chief Executive of WACHS.

HSUWA argued that his dismissal was harsh because it was disproportionate to the misconduct in question, having regard to the circumstances of the offence. The PSAB found his conviction arose in unique circumstances and was the culmination of provocation in the context of long-running, complex, cultural family tension and the stress of his wife’s recent illness. The PSAB also considered Ted’s positive character references, unblemished work history and his acknowledgement of the seriousness of the matter. It found that he does not represent a threat to patient, staff, or visitor safety.

The PSAB determined that, on the evidence, the decision to dismiss was harsh, unfair, and disproportionate, that a warning and improvement action in the form of training was an appropriate penalty, and ordered that Ted be reinstated without loss and with continuity of employment benefits.

Please join us in congratulating Ted and his family for their perseverance and “never give up attitude” during the long, 10-month journey leading up to this fantastic win.

The decision can be read here.

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