I believe that the Launceston City CouncilI has denied my right to Natural Justice.
Natural Justice is typically taken to refer to a set of rights of the accused, including knowing what the charges are and the evidence substantiating them, opportunity to an unbiased judge, and a chance to face their accusers. All these were denied to me and to my supervisor, Mr Patrick Filmer-Sankey, who was dismissed on charges relating to mine.
First, at no point, ever, have my staff made formal 'complaints' against me for which I could answer. I heard about some of them only as gripes, and was utterly unware of most until the day of my dismissal. No warnings were ever given. The 13 Allegations I faced were developed by Mr Dobrzynski as part of the disciplinary procedure, and were an outcome of the Investigation, not the impetus.
Second, the 'evidence' was allegedly contained in a secret report (The Sage Report), and was apparently obtained on the promise of confidentiality. Vigorous attempts to keep it hidden from me continue.
Third, the 'judge' of my case was the very person who developed the charges against me, Mr Dobrzynski, and his lawyer, Mr Chris Dockray. This is bias in the extreme, with the one person playing police officer, judge, jury and executioner.
Fourth, I have yet to face my accusers. The way the Allegations were presented to me was such that the identity of my accusers was often unclear. Council has fiercely shielded my staff and their testimonies from me, citing Council's occupational health and safety obligations to those who gave testimony against me (but not to me, apparently).
In protecting staff's rights to OH&S by not releasing the Sage Report, Council has breached my right to Natural Justice. Furthermore, there are processes for dispute resolution specificed in our Enterprise Agreement, and even these were bypassed.
The core elements of Natural Justice are that if someone is accused of something:
- they should know what the charges are
- they should see the evidence against them
- they should have the opportunity to defend themselves in front of an unbiased authority
- they should have a chance to face their accusers
All these things were denied to me and to my Director, Mr Patrick Filmer-Sankey. For a more thorough dissertation on this subject, see The Nableton Report - a truly independent view of the denial of Natural Justice in this case, written by a Launceston Ratepayer who is a Zen Buddhist Monk with a strong interest in social justice.
RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THE CHARGES ARE AGAINST YOU
I was stood down, and my Director was dismissed, on the basis of complaints that were kept secret from us in an investigation document called the Sage Report. As strange as it may sound, the Allegations we faced were not those made against us by our accusers. In fact, our accusers never made any formal complaints.
We and the public were told that the bullying Allegations against me had been investigated and the investigation had proved my guilt. This is untrue. The 13 Allegations against me and 4 Allegations against Mr Filmer-Sankey were not investigated by the Sage Investigation. The following screen-grab is from a letter Dobrzynski wrote to Allianz Insurance on 11 August 2010, where it is clear in his own words that the Allegations were derived from the completed Sage Report, rather than actually having been investigated by it:
Many elements of these Allegations can be observed word for word in the documents of my staff's gripes and whinges, where they appear as personal notes, not as formal complaints. I believe that these documents, which were finally made available to me on 23 December, just four hours before I was sacked by fax, were the source of those "matters of serious concern". It is therefore my belief that the charges which led to my dismissal were developed by Dobrzynski from my staff's gripe documents. I never received any warning on these charges, prior to being stood down.
I believe it was dishonest and misleading for Dobrzynski to state to the public and Council that the Sage Investigation proved my guilt. In fact, the Sage Investigation didn't seek to prove or disprove anything, it was simply forensic. The following screen grab is from Dobrzynski's letter to Allianz Insurance on 11 August 2009, demonstrating the forensic nature of the investigation:
Further evidence that the Sage Investigation did not prove my guilt, is the fact that 8 of the 13 Allegations were later found by Council's lawyer to be false, and the remainder either evaporated or were downgraded to a warning (See Chris Dockray's conclusions here).
RIGHT TO SEE THE EVIDENCE AGAINST YOU
Because the Sage Report has been kept secret, I have not been allowed to see my staff's complaints or the evidence to substantiate them. However, just going on the complaint documents that I received in December (which are available here), the vast majority of 'evidence' against me is just that there was an enormous amount of petty and vindictive griping and that multiple members of my staff griped about the same things. I believe that my staff joined forces against me, and that their similar complaints were nothing more than a rehearsed plan to out-number me.
RIGHT TO DEFEND YOURSELF IN FRONT OF AN UNBIASED AUTHORITY
Based on the facts below, I believe that there was bias in the hearing of my defence and that I was not given a fair chance to defend myself. I further believe that that my termination was a foregone conclusion well before I was presented with the original Allegations.
- Mr Dobrzynski may have been the one who skewed the Sage investigation against me.
- Mr Dobrzynski was the one who developed the 13 Allegations against me from the completed Sage Report.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who dismissed my Director on the basis of my alleged guilt, sealing my fate that I had to be found guilty to justify the Director's sacking.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who ordered rejection of my Workers Compensation claim outright, without any investigation.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who stood me down for 16 weeks without pay.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who denied me access to the workplace, my belongings, my emails, etc.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who sent me to the psychiatrist (Dr Ian Sale) to develop a case against me.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who refused to consider my Asperger's Syndrome and the well established problems with being bullied, as a mitigating factor in how my staff perceived me.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who developed the 2nd and 3rd rounds of Allegations against me, in response to my decision to fight the original charges.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who commissioned his lawyer (Chris Dockray) to find fact on the Allegations against me.
- Mr Dobrzynski is the one who administered extreme punishments from Dockray's "findings of fact".
- Mr Dockray is the lawyer acting for Council on the disciplinary actions against me.
- Mr Dockray is the lawyer acting for Allianz Insurance in denying my workers comp claim.
RIGHT TO FACE YOUR ACCUSERS
Council has gone to great lengths to keep me from facing my accusers in all possible ways, by claiming to protect their right to a safe workplace, while denying mine.
I was denied access to the Sage Report, on the basis that revealing my staff's testimonies against me would harm their occupational health and safety.
I was told that the Allegations against me were my staff's complaints and that they were investigated, but then in contrast, Dobrzynski later told Allianz that he had developed the Allegations (See above screen grab), meaning that they could not have possibly been investigated; this was further supported by my staff's written gripes that became available to me on 23 December 2010.
Given that I have yet to actually face any formal allegations from my staff, the way this was handled was woeful.