10 Beers Dismissal Not Unfair
The full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has sensibly over-turned an earlier decision by a FW Commissioner that a ship captain was unfairly dismissed.
The amazing point about this case is not that the decision was over-turned, as there was no alternative for the FWC if they wished to maintain any credibility in relation to workplace safety, it was that a highly qualified and experience Commissioner could ignore the safety implications in the first decision.
The court heard the ship captain consumed 10 full-strength beers the night before his shift when he got stressed, and presented to work the next morning, and did not declare he was unfit. He had prior breaches for consuming prescription medication contrary to company policy over a two-year period.
As master of a ship he was responsible for promoting and enforcing the company’s drug and alcohol policies, and clearly could not do this by virtue of his own demonstrated behaviour.
If the ship was involved in an accident resulting in fatalities we all know how critical the investigations would be of the company.