Two Roy Hill mine workers who were sacked after allegedly bullying a fellow worker into buying crystal meth for them have been compensated for unfair dismissal.
David Brown and Bradely Lewis along with a supervisor known as Employee X were all sacked for serious misconduct on March 31 after it was alleged that they forced a worker to buy them drugs.
In written evidence presented to the Fair Work Commission, John Quici, a CQ Group Australia employee, said the men demanded he buy them the drug on at least 12 occasions.
Quici said the three men made him drive from the Roy Hill site to Port Hedland and withdraw money from Employee X’s company credit card in order to buy methamphetamines.
“I was intimidated and treated like a dog while (I) was at work. I was often told I would be f. ked off and not have a job if I did not do as they said,’’ Quici’s statement said.
“Brown would […] drive around my truck and complete the relevant paperwork so that it appeared I was still working.”
Quici also said the men threated to harm his family, including his wife, if he did not carry out their requests.
The commission heard that in March, unidentified employees approached the newly appointed Bulk haulage manager Peter Spence and made a complaint about the conduct of Brown, Lewis and Employee X – who had been nicknamed “the chemical bothers” on site.
Spence said he was informed of the threats made to Quici and told the three men would disappear from site for a number of hours in the middle of their shifts.
General manager David Collins then confronted Employee X about the allegations, to which he allegedly admitted to the inappropriate use of the credit card and that he had supplied the pin number to the card to other company employees (some five in all) to enable them to withdraw cash.
However both Brown and Lewis denied any knowledge or involvement in the misconduct.
They both stated they knew nothing of “ice” except for what they learned about it through the news or on television.
The men said they knew of their reputations as “the chemical brothers” but claim their supervisor roles made them targets of rumours and misinformation amongst workers.
The commission’s senior deputy president Peter Richards said the evidence given by Brown and Lewis “had some of the hallmarks of fabrication’’.
However Richards said he could not accept Quici’s claim as he had not given direct evidence or been tested under cross examination.
“Further, no supporting documentation was provided, such as evidence of the threatening text messages he purportedly received,” Richards said.
It was found Brown and Lewis were denied procedural fairness in the manner in which the dismissal was effected.
Brown was awarded five weeks’ pay in lieu of reinstatement and Lewis was awarded eight weeks’ pay.