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TasFreight truck driver sacked for refusing to load his rig

Fair Work Commission says TasFreight has no case to answer for dismissing its truck driver.


A truck driver in Tasmania has been shown the door after refusing to follow an order to load his rig and deliver it to the west coast of the state.

TasFreight sacked Shane Adams in April this year for serious misconduct, saying his refusal to follow instructions from his supervisor warranted summary dismissal.

Adams launched an unfair dismissal claim, but the Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that TasFreight was within its rights to give him the flick.

“I have determined that Mr Adams’ failure to load his truck on April 8 2015 was, in all circumstances, a refusal to carry out a lawful and reasonable instruction that was consistent with his employment and therefore constitutes serious misconduct,” FWC deputy president Nicole Wells says.

She says TasFreight’s actions were not harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

“Mr Adams’ application for unfair dismissal remedy is dismissed,” Wells says.

TasFreight relied on a clause within the company’s employee booklet to sack Adams. The booklet states that a refusal to follow instruction is grounds for dismissal.

Adams was due to deliver freight to Henty Gold Mine. He was asked to load the truck on April 8 and then make the delivery the following day, but he did not show up for work.

Instead, Adams called in sick and presented a medical certificate for his absence. He was sacked on April 13.

During the unfair dismissal proceedings, a fellow TasFreight truck driver revealed Adams did not want to make the delivery because he feared he would fail a drug test if one was taken and lose his job as a result. Gavin John Wells says Adams told him he “had smoked a joint on the weekend”.

In the week prior to April 8, another TasFreight driver who made a delivery to Henty Gold Mine returned a positive drug test and was subsequently sacked.

Adams’ supervisor, Adam Emery, says Adams confided in him that if he was drug tested he would lose his job. Emery, who instructed Adams to make the delivery, responded: “Not my problem.”

“I accept that Mr Adams did indicate to Mr Emery that he may fail a drug test if tested during deliveries to the west coast,” Wells says.

Adams received three weeks of pay in lieu of notice, which Wells says the company did not have to make because the sacking was a summary dismissal.

Adams claimed he did not engage in conduct that warranted dismissal, was not given an opportunity to respond to his sacking and was absent due to illness and therefore did not refuse an instruction to make a delivery.

Furthermore, Adams says he did not receive a copy of the employee booklet and did not know a refusal to carry out a supervisor’s direction could lead to instant dismissal.


The truck driver thought refusing to deliver a load would save his job. In the end, it led to his sacking.

Posted by Owner Driver on Thursday, 3 September 2015


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