A meteorologist who appeared on the reality television show Beauty and the Geek while taking extended sick leave has been reinstated to his job after the Federal Magistrate’s Court found a dismissal from his job was unwarranted.
Adam Marshall was sacked by the Bureau of Meteorology after, according to the bureau, he didn’t have enough medical evidence to suggest taking time away from work.
Marshall had been diagnosed as suffering from traumatic stress symptoms which appeared after withdrawing from an Arctic training program. However, a government medical officer provided him with a clean bill of health.
During his sick leave, Marshall had the opportunity to appear on the show. His doctor even said it would be beneficial for him. But because of a discrepancy between the two diagnoses, he was sacked for not returning to work.
But the problem was the discrepancy between these two certificates. In the judgment, it’s made clear that the organisation did not take into consideration the certificate given to Marshall by his usual doctor, who said it would be beneficial for him to appear on the show.
It would be difficult, Magistrate Whelan said, for this certificate to not constitute “satisfactory medical evidence”.
The issue was complicated by the fact Marshall had lied on an application to the show, saying he wasn’t suffering any medical conditions. However, Whelan said Marshall didn’t have “the sophistication necessary” to manipulate anyone involved.
Whelan found the employer took adverse action against Marshall. He also found Marshall had been an “excellent employee” before he was dismissed, and that he was likely to continue his commitment to working at a job he clearly enjoyed and was good at. He’ll receive back-pay for the time he wasn’t working.
Legal expert Peter Vitale says the incident serves as a lesson for employers that when terminating employees based on medical evidence, that medical evidence needs to be competent and in order.
“They didn’t really dot their i’s and cross the t’s in challenging the medical certificate,” he said.
“Businesses need to ensure that they have all the proper evidence to enable them to do so.”