Boss fined for sacking cancer sufferer

A Perth panel beater who was central to a corruption scandal involving a former WA minister has been fined more than $40,000 for sacking an employee who had incurable cancer.

The Federal Court blasted Pasquale Minniti for dismissing a terminally ill spray painter from his Bayswater business Hi Lite Smash Repairs in early 2011 in a bid to avoid covering the man's sick leave.

The $41,500 fine, which is split between Minniti and his company AJR Nominees, concerns four breaches of industrial law.

It adds to the $15,000 compensation he was ordered to pay the employee John Bill last year.

The Fair Work Ombudsman prosecuted Minniti in 2012 after Mr Bill complained his boss was verbally abusing him and pressuring him to quit.

Judge John Gilmour noted in his written judgment that Minniti subjected Mr Bill to six weeks of pressure shortly after his diagnosis with blood cancer.

"Minniti wanted to make it look as though Bill had resigned in order to avoid paying him his accumulated personal leave," the court said.

Judge Gilmour wrote that at one stage Minniti accused Mr Bill of "making up his illness and then not only told him to leave, but threatened to physically throw him off the premises".

Mr Bill had accrued about 500 hours of sick leave worth more than $10,000 during nine years on the job.

The judge noted that Minniti's case had been based on "manufactured evidence" and he had not shown remorse until after the initial trial. However, it noted he had since expressed contrition and had been seeking therapy.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said Minniti's conduct was appalling.

Minniti gained notoriety in 2006 when he was secretly filmed by the Corruption and Crime Commission meeting the late minister John D'Orazio.

The CCC was investigating allegations he was able to have speeding tickets cancelled for his friends. He spent nine months in jail.


The West Australian

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