When youve got to go, youve got to go. But one man’s urge to defecate has lost him his job and a fair work claim.
West Australian man Anthony Lear, who pooed on his work site twice, has lost a dramatic fair work claim against his former employer, claiming he had been unfairly dismissed for pooing in public.
Mr Lear had been working as a production technician at BHP WAIO (Western Australian Iron Ore) for seven years before being sacked in April.
According to hearing documents from the Fair Work Commission (FMC), Mr Lear defecated in an “active work area” on the Yandi Mine in Western Australia on two separate occasions in March.
During the first alleged incident he pooed down an active drill hole and on the second he defecated on the “collar” of an active drill hole.
“This conduct occurred, said the respondent, against a backdrop of unsatisfactory workplace behaviour – which when considered with the incidents, led the respondent to dismiss Mr Lear,” the FMC document reads.
But Mr Lear said he had been given no valid reason for termination and argued there was no other option because there were a lack of toilet facilities at the site.
“It just hit me like a Samboy chip,” he reportedly told his colleagues on March 9, the day of the first defecation.
He explained he pooed before covering it up immediately, and had treated the hole like a long drop toilet. Mr Lear also argued he had the urgent onset of “explosive diarrhoea” and that he was in pain.
“(It was) something else,” he said while giving evidence.
Witness, Mr Joel Garner, who is a shotfirer at the Yandi mine, said he noticed his colleague drop a rock down the hole which sounded like it hit a gas bag on March 9.
When he asked the defendant why he did that, Mr Lear replied: “I took a s*** down the hole”.
According to the FWC document, he did confess that on majority of occasions Mr Lear is the one left behind to supervise the drill pattern while the rest of the crew goes for their meal break but, said Mr Lear should have moved to a patch of vacant land.
The second alleged incident occurred weeks later on March 27.
When Mr Lear realised he wasn’t going to make the eight-minute drive to the nearest toilet he scoped out the best place to do the deed, he told the hearing.
He said he had moved into darkness heading east towards “poor Mr Jack Hughes” whom he told: “I’m about to s*** myself, turn around, turn around.”
Witnesses heard toilet facilities are supposed to be spaced about five to six minutes apart on site but Mr Lear said that is heavily dependent on traffic.
Mr Jack Hughes, a production technician at Yandi Mine, said he saw Mr Lear holding a bunch of old rags before saying: “I need to take a s***”.
Moments later he noticed a bad smell and spotted Mr Lear squatting on a blast collar.
“What are you doing? Why are you s***ting on a collar?” Mr Hughes asked, according to the FWC hearing.
Mr Lear responded: “I couldn’t hold it.”
But Mr Hughes said the windrow (paddock) was “not that far away mate”.
Despite evidence provided by Mr Lear, FWC was satisfied that based on his conduct, including past, unrelated incidents at work, the employer had a valid reason for dismissing him.
“Mr Lear’s dismissal was neither unjust, unreasonable nor harsh,” the document states.
The commission considered his employers code of conduct which included putting health and safety first.
WAIO also recommended if a staff member cannot wait to reach a designated toilet facility then they should move away from the blast pattern onto surrounding land.
The Drill and Blast Department at Yandi are responsible for conducting controlled explosions of surface rock and soil to enable that surface material to be more easily cleared away, and the underlying iron ore exposed.