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Young Workers Centre YWC
Worker Win: Discrimination

19 year old Josh* a landscaping apprentice, received $3000 in compensation after workplace harassment and discrimination *name changed

Josh was a second year landscaping apprentice who had a number of scars and scabs on his face and hands due to medical issues. His supervising employer falsly accused him of drug use and verbally abused him in front of the rest of the work crew. This verbal abuse culminated in a summary dismissal for alleged drug use.  

Josh suffered serious mental health issues as a result of his treatment. He was unable to work for an extended period and because the employer refused to pay Josh’s TAFE fees, debt collectors started pursuing Aaron directly which left him understandably distressed. 

YWC Legal team action: 

Unfortunately, as Josh had not been employed for the minimum employment period in order to be eligible for an unfair dismissal application to FWC (6 months or 12 months if employer is a small business, i.e. fewer than 15 employees), instead, the team made an application to Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) in relation to discrimination on the grounds of physical appearance. From here, we were able to negotiate compensation reflecting Aaron’s mental health injury, which came to around $3,000. This helped Josh both financially and mentally, to have closure and a positive outcome from such a difficult experience.