||Issue No. 212||12 March 2004|
Interview: Baby Bust
Safety: Dust To Dust
Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
International: Bulk Bullies
History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Review: The Art Of Work
Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Seven Good Reasons To Save Medicare
Naked Leading The Blind
Peeking Dicks Roasted
That indictment was issued when the IRC ordered Western Sydney Area Health Service to reinstate and back pay nine security guards it dumped last year, in a defining Workplace Surveillance ruling.
Deputy President Sams had heard evidence that the Health Service had engaged private eyes to trail workers employed at Blacktown and Mt Druitt hospitals around Sydney, photograph and videotape them illegally, before they were sacked for buying Chinese takeaways during 12 hour shifts.
Evidence in the "Peeking Dicks" case also suggested Websters Security had conducted the covert surveillance for three weeks before a warrant had obtained.
In a 136-page judgement, Deputy President Sams, said he had been "deeply troubled" by video evidence place before the Commission.
He said it had been "clumsy, incomplete and inaccurate" and had had "the hallmarks of a Keystone Cops episode".
Sams said he had been "flabbergasted" by a Health Service admission that it had been prepared to "let a serious safety concern go unattended while the investigation was commenced and undertaken.
"It seems to me that the respondent was more preoccupied with catching the security officers red handed than it was with ensuring the safety of patients, staff and visitors," he concluded.
Sams ordered that a copy of his decision be forwarded to the Attorney General's department to examine the failure of the Health Service, and the private security company, to comply with terms of the Workplace Video Surveillance Act.
Back pay for the reinstated workers is expected to cost the Western Sydney Area Health Service around half a million dollars.
Health Services Union secretary, Michael Williamson, hailed the decision as a "significant victory" against improper workplace surveillance. He said, Sams had found his members had been "unfairly monitored" and "effectively set-up".
NSW Labor Council, which intervened in the case because of its workplace surveillance implications, has called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider action against the employer.
The guards, found to have been "honest and hard working" are now considering defamation action against the Health Service.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|