Miner's bullying claim rejected by court
A CENTRAL Queensland miner who claims he was victimised at work has fought back after a judgment for compensation was thrown out.
John Brian Etherington was working as a mine surveyor at Foxleigh Mine at Middlemount when he suffered a psychiatric injury that he claimed was directly linked to bullying from his manager.
He claimed he was "systematically undermined" and that confidential information about a medical condition was divulged to colleagues, resulting in severe distress.
But Industrial Court of Queensland president Glenn Martin upheld the decision that the injury arose out of "reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way" and it was Mr Etherington's "perception of reasonable management action being taken against him".
In early 2015 Mr Etherington was issued a warning letter and as a result he informed certain superiors that he was diagnosed with Aspergers. He alleged that a manager had used this to back up claims he was incompetent at his job.
However. it was accepted that his manager had to give direction to other coal mine workers from the health and safety perspective under the Safety Health Management System. There were concerns for how Mr Etherington would adapt or respond to certain situations given the high-risk nature of the mine surveyor's role.
In late November 2017 Anglo Coal disputed a compensation claim by Mr Etherington and won. He has appealed the decision.
"Mr Etherington asserts that the Deputy President erred in not providing sufficient reasons for coming to the conclusion that it was reasonable to disclose the diagnosis of Mr Etherington's conditions," Justice Martin said.
"Mr Etherington's application to appeal is lengthy and discursive. It is argumentative and is mixed in with submission and assertions of fact."
The appeal was dismissed.