The Fair Work Commission has confirmed the dismissal by Toll Holdings of worker after receiving complaints from a co-worker of Afghani origin alleging he had been subjected to ongoing racial comments and cultural abuse in the workplace.
The co-worker complained his colleague, Mr Johnpulle had made inappropriate comments to him over a period of around 15 months, including:
Upon receiving the complaints from the co-worker that the comments had hurt his feelings and caused him considerable distress and offence, Toll put the allegations to Mr Johnpulle who denied all the allegations and claimed his co-worker also made racially offensive comments.
Toll terminated his services for a breach of its Code of Practice and Workplace Behaviours Policy and finding Mr Johnpulle had engaged in a pattern of unacceptable behaviour despite receiving earlier verbal warnings 15 months previously to cease his racial comments.
In reaching its decision to reinstate Mr Johnpulle, the Commission relied on the following grounds:
1. The earlier decision to provide verbal warnings for racial comments rather than more serious action indicated a culture of tolerance and failed to provide a clear message such conduct would not be tolerated in the future;
2. Having written policies on unacceptable conduct was not enough – with cultural & ethnic awareness training also needed;
3. The earlier decision to provide verbal warnings for racial comments rather than more serious action indicated a culture of tolerance and failed to provide a clear message such conduct would not be tolerated in the future.
Toll Holdings Ltd v Johnpull  FWC 1507 (11 March 2016)