Rio Tinto fined $50k for "victimising coal miner”
A FEDERAL Court judge has handed down a $50,000 penalty against Rio Tinto for 'victimising and illegally standing down' a Hail Creek coal miner.
Michael Haylett injured his neck while driving a bulldozer in 2010; an injury that Rio Tinto admitted was caused by the company's negligence.
After being declared fit for work, Mr Haylett continued at the mine for three years.
It was not until the Queensland District Court awarded him $630,000 in November 2013, as compensation for his injuries, that Rio Tinto stood down Mr Haylett.
"Michael Haylett, Hall Payne Lawyers and the union have been fighting this case for three years, and Michael is finally getting justice against one of the worlds biggest mining companies for his unfair sacking,” CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland district president Steve Smyth said.
Mr Smyth welcomed the judgment, describing the penalty imposed on Rio Tinto as a David and Goliath battle against a mining giant.
"The Federal Court found that Rio Tinto's decision to stand down Mr Haylett was made in retaliation for him winning his damages claim, and was in breach of the Fair Work Act,” Mr Smyth said.
The judgment also provided for Michael Haylett to be awarded compensation for his suffering, along with back pay for the time he spent stood down by Rio Tinto.
The court will determine the amount of compensation this week.