COMPENSATION: M'boro disability worker gets $33k payout
A MARYBOROUGH disability worker with chronic kidney disease has been awarded almost $34,000 in compensation.
A tribunal found he had been discriminated against when he had started undergoing dialysis.
John Anthony Vale made a series of complaints against the State Government and his employer regarding how he was treated when he had to undergo dialysis during his shifts at work.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard Mr Vale was working as a residential care officer.
He cared for intellectually disabled people while employed by the Department of Communities, Child, Safety and Disability Services.
He had to undertake dialysis twice during 12-hour shifts and once during eight-hour shifts.
The process took about 20 minutes and Mr Vale would complete his treatment during his 30-minute break.
The department ultimately determined Mr Vale could not continue in his position while he was completing dialysis and he was redeployed to an administrative position.
While Mr Vale was found to have accepted the position, the tribunal accepted he had no other reasonable option.
The tribunal found Mr Vale's position as a residential care officer did not involve full-time observation and supervision.
Because he was able to disconnect from his treatment in about 30 seconds, he was no less able to respond than another officer who might have been using the toilet, hanging out washing or having a cigarette break.
"Although it was said by the department that Mr Vale was temporarily disabled from performing duties for 20 minutes, that submission does not take into account that he could almost immediately disengage from the procedure should the need arise," the finding read.
For a time, the department was also backfilling to ensure Mr Vale was covered during the times he had to have dialysis, but that was discontinued because it was unsustainable, the tribunal heard.
But even without the backfilling arrangement, the tribunal found his need for dialysis did not put the people in his care at risk.
"It is inevitable, whether a person in Mr Vale's position has to undergo dialysis or not, that there will be periods when the service users will not be under observation, when they will be acting independently of the RCO, and where some risk exists concerning their conduct and possible consequences," the finding read.
Mr Vale asked for compensation for leave and penalty payments along with stress and hardship.
"It was humiliating and degrading to him on a personal level to be moved from this position to one that he was not trained for and which seemed to be a superfluous role," the tribunal found.
In total, compensation of $33,906.16 was awarded to Mr Vale, ordered to be paid within 14 days.