A Victorian council worker has claimed he was sacked from his job for taking time off while waiting for his coronavirus test results.
Peter Marrell worked on a casual basis as a labourer and truck driver at the City of Ballarat Council for 14 months.
After waking with a runny nose at the end of August, Mr Marrell followed Victorian Health Department advice and took a day off work to take a COVID-19 test.
He received a phone call from his employer four hours after he called in sick to say he was being sacked.
Peter Marrell (pictured) has claimed he was sacked for taking a day off to take a coronavirus test
‘I said, “Is it because I’ve called in sick?” They said, “No, it’s because we’re downsizing and putting aquatic people in your position”,’ Mr Marrell told news.com.au.
Mr Marrell believes he has been unfairly dismissed for adhering to guidelines from health officials and keeping his colleagues safe by not attending work until he knew if he’d recorded a positive result.
‘I think they suspected I was trying to have time off, but I don’t get paid for these tests,’ Mr Marrell said. ‘I lost money because I have to have so much time off for it.’
When confronted with Mr Marrell’s claims, the City of Ballarat Council said he was fired for his ‘poor work performance and poor attendance’.
The City of Ballarat Council said Mr Marrell was fired for ‘poor work performance and poor attendance’
In a statement to A Current Affair, a council spokesperson said Mr Marrell had a meeting with team leaders about his work conduct before he was let go.
‘In the week leading up to August 28, Mr Marrell was advised he needed to be able to perform the full range of tasks required by his street cleaning position, not just his preferred one or two,’ they said.
‘As a result of his poor work performance and poor attendance, Mr Marrell was advised he would not be receiving any further shifts as a casual in the street cleaning team.’
The council said they encourage employees to be tested for coronavirus if they show any symptoms.
‘Under no circumstances would a staff member be terminated for having a COVID-19 test,’ the spokesperson said.
Medical staff perform a coronavirus test on a driver at the Ballarat drive through facility on August 21