Alleged sex offender ‘unfairly sacked’: Commission

AN alleged sex offender was unfairly sacked from his job as a delivery driver despite concerns his co-workers no longer felt safe working alongside him, the Fair Work Commission has ruled.

Thomas Lynch, of Alawa, was arrested in May last year and spent more than two months on remand before being released on bail in mid-July.

Mr Lynch has been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court in August, on sexual assault, aggravated assault and threat to kill charges.

Mr Lynch has indicated he plans to challenge the criminal charges.

His employer, Reward Hospitality, sacked him last October, more than five months after he was stood down on leave without pay.

But Fair Work Commissioner Michelle Bissett last month found his bosses unfairly terminated his employment in October, and ordered his job be reinstated.

Ms Bissett found Mr Lynch's employers unfairly sacked him because the company, not Mr Lynch, was responsible for his five month "absence" from work.

"In this case (Mr Lynch's) absence was caused directly by the actions of (the company), in standing (Mr Lynch) down without pay 'pending the outcome' of court proceedings," Ms Bissett said.

" ... It is difficult to see that this absence could cause a valid reason for dismissal.

"The reason for (Mr Lynch's) arrest does not relate to his employment." Ms Bissett said the company "may have held some concerns as to the wellbeing of other employees" but there was no evidence "the concern, if it did exist, was justified".

She said the other employees who "might have raised a concern" have since moved on from the company, and that management could have kept those employees separate from Mr Lynch if necessary. One employee, Maryann Criddle, told the hearing in February she felt "uncomfortable and intimidated" knowing the reasons for Mr Lynch's arrest.

She said the "girls" in the company's retail shop also had concerns, but that they did not know the reasons for Mr Lynch's arrest. Mr Lynch is likely to remain stood-down without pay until his trial.

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