Ex-Linfox truckie loses Fair Work appeal


Fair Work Australia refuses to hear an appeal from a former Linfox truck driver sacked for falsifying his work diary

Ex-Linfox truckie loses Fair Work appeal
Ex-Linfox truckie loses Fair Work appeal
By Brad Gardner | March 14, 2012

Fair Work Australia has quashed a former Linfox truck driver’s application for his unfair dismissal case to be reheard after it was lodged outside the accepted timeframe.

Tu Noanoa wanted the industrial umpire to review Commissioner Ian Cambridge’s January 2011 ruling upholding Linfox’s decision to sack the driver for falsifying his work diary.

The application was lodged on February 11 this year despite the Fair Work Act stipulating a 21-day deadline after a decision is made.

"Mr Noanoa’s application to appeal was made more than one year after Commissioner Cambridge’s decision," Senior Deputy President Jonathan Hamberger says.

Fair Work Australia can grant an extension for appeals in extenuating circumstances, but Hamberger says Noanoa "has not articulated any relevant reason, let alone satisfactory reason, for the delay in lodging his appeal".

Noanoa wrote to Fair Work Australia telling it the appeal should be heard because Cambridge upheld the dismissal based on a breach of fatigue laws that did not occur.

"I feel I was only dismissed on this one breach by Commissioner Cambridge [and] this was not the reason as to why we were in court in the first place," Noanoa says.

He also accused Linfox of "bullying and harassment of their workers" and claimed the company needed to be audited because it was not complying with fatigue laws.

Noanoa, who believes he should be given his job back, was caught exceeding his maximum driving hours in July 2010.

He tried to conceal the breach but was caught out when the company realised he had written on his timesheet that he was unloading his truck at the same time as having a rest.

The veteran driver confessed to deliberately falsifying his work diary when Linfox confronted him about the discrepancies.

"The deliberate falsification of an important employment related document such as daily timesheet is, in the absence of any justification, gross and wilful misconduct that justifies summary dismissal," Cambridge ruled.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU), which represented Noanoa at his initial hearing, argued he should have been given a warning and that the breach was "a momentary lapse of judgement" rather than serious misconduct.




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