The West

Accused: Pasquale Minniti
Accused: Pasquale Minniti

Bayswater panel beater Pasquale Minniti, who spent time in jail for corruption and played a key role in the downfall of former Labor MP John D'Orazio, has been accused of sacking an employee who had been diagnosed with cancer.

The Fair Work Australia ombudsman is prosecuting Mr Minniti and the company behind his business Hi-Lite Automotive Body Repairs.

The ombudsman claims in court documents that Mr Minniti tried to pressure the spraypainter into resigning soon after the blood cancer was discovered in December 2010.

But when John Bill, who had worked at Hi-Lite for more than nine years, refused to quit his full-time job, Mr Minniti yelled at him.

"You're a f…ing smart little c..t and if you don't get out of here I'm going to throw you out," Mr Minniti allegedly said.

The ombudsman alleges Mr Bill was sacked soon after. But Mr Bill had not resigned and had intended to use his 515 hours of accrued sick leave and 53 hours of annual leave so he could get treatment.

Mr Minniti refused to comment when contacted by _The West Australian _ yesterday, other than to say the case was "bullsh..". If convicted, he faces fines of up to $6600 per offence, while his company could be fined up to $33,000 for each offence.

Mr Minniti came to prominence in 2006 when the Corruption and Crime Commission investigated allegations he was able to have speeding tickets cancelled for his friends. In the course of the investigation, the CCC also filmed Mr Minniti meeting Mr D'Orazio.

In 2009, Mr Minniti was found guilty of corruption, making a false statutory declaration and attempting to induce a witness to give false evidence to the CCC. He was jailed for 18 months, while former police officer Arduino Silvestri was jailed for 12 months.

The ombudsman will ask the Federal Court to order Mr Minniti pay Mr Bill more than $15,000 compensation.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the Fair Work ombudsman had been set up to help employers and employees determine the right course of action after a dispute.

"We know it's important to have an effective watchdog to ensure that all Australian employers know their obligations and all Australian workers receive correct pay and entitlements like sick leave," he said.

"To prevent an employee from taking sick leave or dismissing them to prevent them from doing so is unlawful."

The West Australian

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