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Rio Tinto fined $50k for sacking injured worker

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.

The victim, Michael Haylett, injured his neck while driving a bulldozer in 2010.

According to the CFMEU, Rio Tinto admitted the injury was caused by the company’s negligence.

After being declared fit for work, Mr Haylett continued at the mine for three years.

When the Queensland District Court awarded Mr Haylett $630,000 as compensation for the incident in November 2013, Rio Tinto stood the worker down.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Division Queensland District President Steve Smyth welcomed the judgment, describing the penalty imposed onto Rio Tinto as a David and Goliath battle against a mining giant.

“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 world’s biggest mining companies for his unfair sacking,” Mr Smyth said.

“The way the company acted in this matter – beginning with the heavy-handed and illegal sacking of a worker, to ignoring a Supreme Court order – is appalling and the penalty of $50,000 against them is deserved.”

The judgment also provided for Mr Haylett to be awarded compensation for his suffering, along with back pay for the time he spent stood down by Rio Tinto. This amount will be determined by the court next week.

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