FAIR WORK FIGHT: A man's year-long fight over the ownership of his fingerprints has ended in a wrongful dismissal claim victory against Imbil's Superior Wood Sawmill.
FAIR WORK FIGHT: A man's year-long fight over the ownership of his fingerprints has ended in a wrongful dismissal claim victory against Imbil's Superior Wood Sawmill. Troy Jegers

FINGERPRINTS: Mary Valley sawmill loses dismissal claim

A FIGHT over the privacy of fingerprints has ended with an Imbil sawmill worker winning an unfair dismissal case before the Fair Work Commission.

Sawmill worker Jeremy Lee this month prevailed in a year-long battle to protect ownership of his biometric data which he said was "sensitive personal information".

After refusing to agree to the company's fingerprint security process for signing in and out introduced in October 2017, he was sacked by Superior Wood in February last year following a series of verbal and written warnings.

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He offered a compromise which would let him keep ownership of his biometric data and retain his job, but it was refused.

 

Superior Wood Imbil Mill
Superior Wood Imbil Mill Troy Jegers

In November last year the Fair Work Commission ruled against his unfair dismissal case, with the Commissioner ruling the policy was not unjust.

In his appeal, however, the Commission found Superior Wood "did not have a valid reason for the dismissal which related to Mr Lee's capacity or conduct" and his dismissal was "unjust".

"It was unjust because Mr Lee was not guilty of the conduct alleged.

As the direction was unlawful he was entitled to refuse to follow it."

The Commission said there was merit to Mr Lee's privacy concerns as "there is no evidence that any of these entities (Superior Wood and Finlayson Timber and Hardware) had, at the relevant time, any actual mechanism in place to protect and manage information collected by Superior Wood, consistent with its obligations under the Privacy Act".

The case is now being referred to Commissioner C.F. Simpson to establish what remedy, if any, should be ordered.

A Superior Wood spokesman said the company did not wish to make comment on the decision at this time.