The Full Federal Court has upheld a decision to quash the reinstatement of a ferry master sacked for returning a positive cannabis test after a crash.
You would have recalled this from an earlier story and why it’s important is the finding that supports the employer’s dismissal in light of its zero tolerance drug policy.
While on duty, the court was told, the ferry master misjudged an approach to a wharf and the ferry struck a pylon and he was required to take a urine test, although he did not disclose that he had smoked marijuana.
The employee was immediately suspended, in line with the ferry operator’s drug and alcohol policy and subsequently terminated.
The employee argued – he may have had a positive reading but he was otherwise fine to work and not much damage occurred.
The lack of any impairment arising from drug use, the absence of a link between drug use and the accident and the absence of substantial damage to the (vessel) are not factors relevant to the ground of misconduct identified as non-compliance with the (employer’s drug and alcohol) policy.
Summary: the valid reason for termination of (the ferry master’s) employment was his deliberate disobedience as a senior employee and of a significant policy breach.