Fired injured Visy printer loses right to appeal

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A press operator at packaging giant Visy has lost his claim to appeal a decision to sack him, following an ankle injury sustained on holiday, which kept him off work for two years.

Ankle injury prevented work: press operator contract terminated
Holiday ankle injury prevented work: press operator contract terminated

William Eskander spent 22 years as number one press minder on one of the company’s Chadwick presses, which are 30-50 metres long and two to three stories tall, which he operated with two assistants, the four machines running double day shifts at the company’s pre-print factory.

However an accident resulting in ankle injury that happened while overseas on holiday left him in a moon boot for four months, and off work for a further six, until a report from an orthopaedic surgeon declared him fit for work again. Eskander though produced sick notes saying he was unfit for his role, but could perform light duties.

Visy then requested he attend a series of tests, with a functional capacity examination, where Eskander stated he was apprehensive about re-injuring his ankle. The doctor concluded though that Eskander would be able to return to his previous role, and recommended a gradual return to work plan. However another doctor appointed by Visy disagreed, saying it would not be possible to return to his previous activity without the risk of re-injury, so Visy ended his employment.

Neither Eksander nor Visy privided any details of light duties that could be performed by Eksander to replace his press minder role, which involved climbing, crawling and lifting.

Eskander then took the case to the Fair Work Commission for unfair dismissal, but the FWC found in favour of Visy. Eskander then sought leave to appeal the decision, but this has now also been dismissed.


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