A disability discrimination claim has been lodged against BHP Billiton and its contractor Carey Mining on behalf of a deaf man who was allegedly unlawfully sacked while working in a West Australian mine site.
Lawyers Maurice Blackburn said the claim had been lodged in the Australian Human Rights Commission for client Andrew Myers, 40, who is deaf but wears hearing aids and a cochlear implant.
In a medical assessment, Mr Myers was declared fit to work, with a pass rate of 98 per cent.
He has various qualifications allowing him to operate heavy vehicles and machinery in construction and mining, and is also a licensed pilot.
Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Kamal Farouque said Mr Myers was engaged by Carey Mining in May this year to work at the Area C mine in the Pilbara region, but within days was told by the contractor that he couldn't work anymore because BHP Billiton thought there was a communication problem.
Carey Mining told him that they couldn't fault his performance, Mr Farouque said.
“Andrew was very up-front with his employer and everyone around him about being hearing impaired and was told by various company people they would support him,” he said.
“He did a health and safety induction test and got a 100 per cent result.
“After two to three days on the job, his immediate colleagues told him he was performing well and they had no problems, and that any issues with the two-way radio would be fixed.”
Mr Myers said he was extremely upset by the decision to sack him from his dream job, which he has been told could last for 20 to 25 years.
“I couldn't believe it when they told me I was terminated,” he said.
“I've had discrimination all my life, but not as open as this.
“I can fly a plane. If I can do that, I can work on a mining site.”
BHP Billiton was being sought for comment.