A former Qantas health and safety officer who raised concerns about COVID-19 in early 2020 has resigned for “causing unrest among employees,” the court heard.
- Theo Seremetidis resigned in February 2020 after advising workers that they had the right to refuse dangerous jobs.
- Qantas claims risk of contracting COVID-19 at the time was ‘very low’
- SafeWork NSW filed an indictment against the airline last October.
Qantas accuses Theo Selemetidis of engaging in discriminatory conduct after he was fired for expressing concern that cleaning and servicing planes arriving from China could expose employees to the virus It has been.
On the first day of his trial in Downing Center District Court on Monday, the court revealed that Mr Selemetidis had worked for Qantas as a ground crew member at Sydney International Airport for nearly seven years.
Prosecutor Patricia McDonald SC told the court when she expressed concern about the cleaners contracting the virus that employers said the risk was “negligible” and that they “could not be reasonably concerned about contracting the virus.” I can’t,’ he said.
The court heard that Mr. Selemetidis had advised his colleagues that they had a legal right to refuse the dangerous work.
At a meeting with Qantas management on February 2, he said he was “instructing workers to stop doing unsafe jobs, which is causing unrest among workers” until further notice. resigned.
The court heard that Mr. Selemetidis, who is due to give evidence on Tuesday, will be told to leave the facility immediately and an internal investigation will be conducted.
Qantas attorney Bruce Hodgkinson said in his opening remarks that at the time, “the risk was [of contracting COVID-19] It was very low outside of China.”
He said the criminal case should be viewed “without the benefit of hindsight” rather than “what is known at the relevant time”.
Hodgkinson noted that COVID-19 was not considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization until March 11, more than a month after Seremetidis’ resignation.
SafeWork NSW indicted the airline in October 2021 for allegedly violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The hearing before Judge David Russell is scheduled to last two weeks.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-14/qantas-worker-stood-down-after-raising-covid-concerns-court-told/101649590 A Qantas employee who allegedly raised COVID-19 concerns resigned for ‘causing unrest’ among staff, court said