Monday, December 14, 2009

Michael Stevenson sacked for burnout in Mudgee carpark

NEW South Wales council has been branded un-Australian after it sacked an employee for doing a burnout in the carpark.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, mechanic Michael Stevenson was dismissed by the Mid-Western Regional Council council after allegedly performing the trademark revhead manouevre while leaving the Mudgee depot in his V6 Holden Commodore on December 5 last year.

Mr Stevenson rejected the accusation and said none of the key elements of a burnout - tyre smoke and big skid marks - were present, The Daily Telegraph reports.

And even though he said it was not a burnout, he condemned sacking someone for doing a burnout as un-Australian.

"It wasn't a burnout anyway. There was no tyre smoke. You couldn't do a burnout on the surface that was there - it was all loose gravel. It's unfair and I reckon I was targeted," he said.

Mr Stevenson believes his work as a union delegate rankled the council and also said that a number of his colleagues had received adverse treatment by the council after giving evidence on his behalf. In his unfair dismissal case, Mr Stevenson and his witnesses said he lost traction for only a fraction of a second while driving out of the carpark and left only a 1m skid mark.

But the council claimed he lost traction for at least three seconds and left what was described in the Industrial Relations Commission as "a distinct skid mark" about 10m long.

In a landmark decision handed down last month, the IRC had to determine the precise elements that constitute a burnout.

And Commissioner Ian Cambridge found Mr Stevenson had deliberately lost traction while leaving the carpark and upheld his dismissal.

"A careful evaluation of all of the evidence ... about the burnout has established it was a deliberate and sustained loss of traction and not an inadvertent occurrence," he found.

The council had previously warned Mr Stevenson about dangerously driving a council ute.

Spokesman Ed DeLong said council was happy with the decision


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