Desmond Robert Howard Anthony v Orbit Drilling Pty Ltd
 FWA 309
Desmond Anthony was the Safety & Training Manager at Orbit
Drilling Pty Ltd (Orbit) from September 2010 through to his
termination on 19 April 2011. Mr Farr, Orbit's Operations
Manager, appeared on their behalf and Mr Anthony was self
Mr Anthony's evidence was that half an hour prior to
finishing his shift, he was summonsed into Mr Farr's office and
told that he was fired because he did not stay at the correct
accommodation camp. Mr Anthony denied having ever been instructed
to stay at one particular camp or being advised of any misconduct.
Mr Anthony also alleged no dispute resolution procedure was
implemented to deal with Orbit's grievances, he did not receive
any warning, and there was no legitimate reason to terminate his
Mr Farr cited an incident on 14 February 2011 where a number of
employees reported that Mr Anthony urinated in front of them and
physically assaulted an employee. Those allegations were denied by
As part of Mr Farr's investigations into the incident,
statements were taken from those involved. Three of the five
employees who witnessed the incident gave statements, the other two
had left Orbit.
Although the statements were tendered and considered at the
hearing, the parties were not made available for cross-examination.
Commissioner Williams did not place any significance on that given
Mr Farr's lack of legal experience.
Mr Anthony did not challenge the statements, he simply denied
the incident occurred.
Commissioner Williams found no basis to suspect that the
statements of the three employees were fabricated or that they had
conspired against Mr Anthony. Further, the statements provided a
detailed description of what occurred, and were sufficiently
different to not raise any suspicion of collusion.
In contrast, Mr Anthony's recollection was vague and without
Accepting the incident had occurred as described, Commissioner
Williams held there was a valid reason for Orbit to terminate Mr
There were a number of procedural flaws in that Mr Anthony was
not given sufficient notification of his dismissal and the reasons
were not spelt out in his letter of dismissal. That said, the
incident on 14 February 2011 was discussed with Mr Anthony during a
meeting with Mr Farr. During that conference it was made clear to
Mr Anthony the incident was the reason for his dismissal. Although
the incident was not elaborated upon, simply referred to as
'the incident', Mr Farr said that tact had been adopted so
as to not embarrass Mr Anthony in front of Mr Smith, the Managing
Director, and his assistant, Mr Pedley.
Although the reasons for Mr Anthony's dismissal were not
made entirely clear, he was given the opportunity to respond during
the meeting with Mr Farr. Indeed, Mr Anthony did respond by saying
that the allegations were false.
Commissioner Williams held that although Orbit's handling of
the matter was deficient, Mr Anthony's conduct was serious and
constituted a valid reason for dismissal. The procedural
deficiencies did not render Mr Anthony's dismissal harsh,
unjust or unreasonable. Mr Anthony's application was therefore
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