By Clea Cole (Lawyer) and Claire Brown (Senior Associate)
A truck driver has won back his job after being dismissed for misconduct which included making lewd, crude, sexist and Islamophobic comments – here is the decision in Goodall v Mt Arthur Coal Pty Ltd T/A Mt Arthur Coal  FWC 4129.
Goodall was dismissed from the Mt Arthur coal mine for his conduct on the night of 11 November 2015:
- his excessive use of the mine’s radio in breach of workplace policies designed to ensure the safety of workers; and
- inappropriate comments made over the radio – defended as “chat and banter”.
Decision of Commissioner Saunders:
- Although there was a valid reason (or two!) for the dismissal, it was harsh in the circumstances – Goodall’s exemplary employment record, role as primary breadwinner, and display of contrition etc.
- Reinstatement was ordered.
This is another decision in a worrying line which marks a return to emphasis being placed on harshness in the face of a very compelling valid reason – see also the majority decision of the Full Bench in B, C and D v Australian Postal Corporation T/A Australia Post  FWCFB 6191 and former VP Lawler’s decision in Quinlivan v Norske Skog Paper Mills (Australia) Ltd  FWA 883.
It will be interesting to see if this one gets appealed. We’ll keep you posted!