By Simon Lauder.
A ruling ordering a Melbourne firm to compensate a woman who was sacked after she was allegedly abused by her partner has been hailed as a landmark decision by a workers rights advocate.
The Fair Work Commission ruling relates to a woman who was allegedly abused by her partner and later dismissed by an architectural firm because her partner worked in the same open plan office.
This week, the commission found the woman’s dismissal was unfair, harsh, unjust and unreasonable.
It ordered the company to pay compensation to the woman.
In June last year, the Eliana Construction and Developing Group hired a new draftsperson.
She had moved to Australia from Iran with her partner in 2013 and he worked in the same office.
In January this year she was left in fear of her life after her partner abused her, the commission heard.
The police applied for an intervention order to protect the woman and exclude her partner from the home.
A magistrate amended the order so they could still work in the same office, but the partner was not to “approach or remain within three metres”.
Zana Bytheway from Jobwatch, the group that represented the woman, said instead of following the court order, the woman was sacked.
“The employer had an opportunity to see whether or not protecting the employment of both parties would work, but in this case chose to get rid of the victim of violence and retain the employment of the man,” she said.