Ipswich dad taking on council for $750k
LABOURER Mitchell Eager has much more than his own compensation at the forefront of a $750,000 law suit against Ipswich City Council.
The father said he "didn't care if he ended up with five cents" out of the damages claims before the court but was fighting on behalf of other workers who were injured on the job.
He's claiming damages for a breach of duty of care after he says he hurt his back while moving a 500kg cement pipe at a council site in July 2014.
"I shifted it with the crowbar I just felt a pop in my back," Mr Eager said.
It was a life-changing injury that ended his 13-year career and left his young family without his income.
Mr Eager says is is painful for him to drive long distances and he's unable to play with his daughters Maya, 6, and Keeley, 3.
"After 15 minutes of driving, I'm in agony. I put off going places that are a long trip, I can't run around the yard with them like I wish I could," he said.
"That's all I'm trained in doing, building roads and concreting, I've been doing it since I was 17."
He said he wanted his experience to encourage other workers to stand up for their rights.
"I've seen that many people being bullied at work and I thought I'm not doing it, I'm going to take them," he said.
"I don't care if I end up with five cents, at the end of the day it's the principle.
"I've seen blokes hurt themselves and not go and do an incident report for the same reason I'm in, in fear of getting sacked.
"My message to others is don't hold back, make sure (they report it), it's a long road ahead."
Stephanie Francis of Maurice Blackburn said employers had a duty of care for their employees.
"For an employer of this size, who employs a lot of people in the community, we say that risk is unacceptable," Ms Francis said.
"What we're hoping to do by bringing the claim is we're hopeful the council will take the matter on board and move to improve their systems so this accident doesn't happen to someone else."