WA On Leave without Pay Due to New Work Regulations - Legal?

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H. Young

24 August 2015
I am employed as a train driver with an American operating company called Watco WA Rail. I have recently been placed on leave without pay due to new standards which pertain to the National Regulations for Category 1 Rail Workers Medical requirements.

The new National Standards have now included the BMI or body mass index level in the requirements and being a very large man, around 220kg, I have been removed from driving duties due to legal risk of heart and weight related issues. I have never shirked my duties, the company has no evidence or substantiating proof that I am a risk except for the so called medical risks raised due to my weight.

I understand that I need to lose weight to keep my job, but to have placed me on leave without pay and not allowing me to take on another position with less legal risk or injury risk within the company has me in a extremely troubling position. I am going to need 6-12 months at least to lose the 100kg that Watco and the Employment Medical Specialist has imposed, without wages or the standard of living I am accustomed to.

I am currently looking into bankruptcy due to my financial woes. Has Watco followed the correct Employment Law procedures or do I have a case for financial compensation. I am about to lose everything I own, my emotional state is fragile to say the least and the struggle to deal with all of this is beyond me. Do I have legal grounds to stand on?

Michael T

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
It might be worth have a careful read through those National Standards, and perhaps getting a second medical opinion (there are doctors who might be able to bulk bill you).
Have you also had a chat with Fair Work and/or your union if you have one?

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
Go to your union.