Landmark Fine for Qantas in Health and Safety Case

Theo Seremetidis, the HSR in question, was working at Sydney Airport when the incident occurred in February 2020.

Sydney, March 6, 2024 - In a historic decision, Qantas has been fined $250,000 for illegally standing down a health and safety representative (HSR) who raised concerns about COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

Greek Australian Theo Seremetidis, the HSR in question, was working at Sydney Airport when the incident occurred in February 2020. He expressed concerns about the safety of workers tasked with cleaning and servicing aeroplanes arriving from China, prompting him to instruct his colleagues to stop the work. Instead of addressing his concerns, Qantas chose to stand down Mr. Seremetidis, a move deemed unlawful by the court.

NSW Minister for Work Health and Safety, Sophie Cotsis, applauded the verdict and highlighted the importance of protecting HSRs. "No work health and safety representative should be penalized for fulfilling their duties," she stated, emphasizing the crucial role the Transport Workers Union (TWU) played in supporting workplace safety.

The ruling also garnered praise from Head of SafeWork NSW, Trent Curtin, who emphasized the protected role of HSRs under NSW work, health, and safety laws. He stressed the importance of effective consultation and commended the efforts of SafeWork NSW personnel in securing this precedent-setting outcome.

In addition to the fine, Qantas agreed to compensate Mr. Seremetidis with $21,000, acknowledging the economic and non-economic losses he suffered due to the incident. The company has the right to appeal the decision within 28 days.

The NSW government has also indicated a review of the case to assess its broader implications and ensure continued protection for HSRs in the future.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024