Qantas Airways


Theo Seremetidis, Health and Safety Representative

Legal Outcome

$250,000 fine for Qantas


Stood down for raising COVID-19 safety concerns

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Qantas Airways faced a $250,000 fine after being found guilty of breaching workplace health and safety laws when they stood down Theo Seremetidis, a former health and safety representative who raised concerns about COVID-19 risks.

Incident Overview

Theo Seremetidis was stood down by Qantas Ground Services (QGS) in February 2020 after he instructed employees to halt cleaning operations on planes from China due to potential COVID-19 exposure risks. The court ruled this action by Qantas violated workplace health and safety regulations.

Legal Proceedings

The NSW District Court found Qantas guilty, imposing a $250,000 fine for their actions against Seremetidis. The case marks a significant legal precedent as the first time a major airline has been criminally prosecuted for workplace safety violations in this context.

Reactions and Statements

Theo Seremetidis expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision but noted the fine’s relative insignificance compared to Qantas’s profits. Judge David Russell criticized Qantas for its treatment of Seremetidis and the company’s prioritization of commercial interests over employee safety.

Implications for Workplace Safety

This ruling underscores the importance of upholding workers’ rights to a safe workplace, especially during unprecedented health crises. It serves as a warning to employers about the severe legal repercussions of neglecting health and safety representatives’ warnings.

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