Sacked Racing Queensland chief integrity officer Wade Birch is suing the organisation, claiming he was unfairly dismissed and that his reputation has been ruined.
In a District Court claim filed Monday, Mr Birch’s lawyers say the long-time racing industry official was fired in July 2015 for alleged misconduct with no warning and despite not having committed any wrongdoing.
The claim, filed by Miller Sockhill Lawyers, seeks damages for breach of contract, equitable compensation, and $258,000 for lost wages, superannuation, long service leave and failure to make good on a promised redundancy package.
“As a result of the manner in which he was treated during the latter parts of his employment and the manner of his dismissal the plaintiff has been medically certified as being unfit to continue his usual occupation,” the statement of claim says.
“The plaintiff’s reputation has been adversely affected so that it is unlikely he will be able to find alternative employment within the racing industry.”
Mr Birch was one of many industry figures stood down in February last year after revelations that greyhound trainers routinely used live animals such as rabbits and possums as bait – a practice that is illegal in Australia.
He was reinstated following an internal review before being suspended and later sacked after a commission of inquiry into live baiting.
The District Court claim says that during Mr Birch’s 18 years of service, he never received a single warning about his conduct.
Racing Queensland assured him in June 2015 the inquiry’s report contained nothing to concern him and that he could return to work.
But, according to the claim, just three weeks later he was given a show cause notice and suspended, before he was sacked a fortnight later for alleged misconduct.
“The decision to summarily dismiss the plaintiff without notice was harsh, oppressive and unconscionable,” the claim says.
Racing Queensland has been contacted for comment.
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