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Truck Driver Fired For Refusing COVID-19 Jab Awarded Nearly $30,000 For ‘Unjustified Dismissal’

A New Zealand line-haul truck driver who was fired from his job for refusing the experimental COVID-19 shot has been awarded approximately $29,000 ($17,740 USD) for unjustified dismissal.

Wayne John Basher, who worked for Big Chill Distribution Ltd for over a decade, received “$15,000 in compensation for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to his feelings, and $13,967 for three months of lost wages,” The New Zealand Herald reports.

Basher told the Employment Relations Authority he was unjustifiably dismissed because his employer did not follow a “fair and reasonable process” before firing him.

He also claimed his employer coerced its staff into taking the experimental COVID-19 shot.

The New Zealand Herald reports:

Basher was dismissed on January 24, 2022 for not getting vaccinated under Big Chill’s internal vaccination policy.

This was the day after the entirety of New Zealand was placed on the “red” alert setting under the “traffic light” Covid management system, as the Omicron strain was spreading through the community.

Big Chill, part of the Freightways business, which employs more than 5000 people, consulted its workers on a vaccination policy in 2021 and encouraged vaccination with $75 payments and a lottery for fully vaccinated staff.

It announced in December 2021 it was introducing mandatory vaccination for all roles.

Basher refused to be vaccinated. He had argued he did not meet customers on a regular basis and the depots he worked at were large enough to ensure he could maintain adequate distances of separation when he was present.

Big Chill told the Employment Relations Authority it was “substantively justified” in dismissing Basher because he was required to be vaccinated to carry out his role under its policy.

But Basher said Big Chill was unjustified in introducing a vaccination policy. He says his role was wrongly assessed as being covered by the policy because no proper individual risk assessment was carried out.

Per The Epoch Times:

However, adjudicator Natasha Szeto ruled Big Chill had ignored Mr. Basher’s request for an in-depth health and safety assessment that would determine whether said risk existed.

Ms. Szeto ruled that ignoring the request was “not a step that a fair and reasonable employer could take,” commenting that an individual risk assessment should have been taken out.

“Given the downstream consequences on Mr. Basher’s employment, I consider a fair and reasonable employer could have genuinely engaged with him on the risk assessment, even in the context of a business that was continuing to respond to the impacts of a global pandemic,” she said.

As an alternative to being terminated, Ms. Szeto also ruled that Big Chill could have offered a period of leave to Mr. Basher saying, “I have found that Big Chill did not follow a fair and reasonable process in terms of the risk assessment for Mr. Basher’s role, nor did it consider leave as a reasonable alternative to termination.”

“It follows that Big Chill unjustifiably dismissed Mr. Basher from his employment.”


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