Qantas was fined $250,000 and convicted for suspending a worker who raised concerns about COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic.

Qantas has been fined $250,000 and convicted for unlawfully suspending a worker during the pandemic after he voiced concerns about the COVID-19 risk to staff cleaning aircraft arriving from China.

The worker, Theo Seremetidis, a lift truck driver and elected health and safety representative employed by Qantas Ground Services (QGS) at Sydney International Airport, was sidelined in early 2020.

Last year, NSW District Court Judge David Russell found the airline guilty of discriminatory behavior, acknowledging that Seremetidis was unfairly isolated from other staff who sought his assistance.

Qantas recently settled with Seremetidis for $21,000 to cover economic and non-economic losses.

Today, Judge Russell ordered QGS to be convicted and fined $250,000, noting that the conduct exhibited significant culpability and was intentional rather than accidental.

“The treatment of Mr. Seremetidis was deeply concerning,” the judge remarked. “Even during his suspension and investigation, QGS attempted to justify its actions with additional reasons.”

Half of the fine was directed to be paid to the prosecuting authority.

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