A former Bega Valley Shire Council worker has taken the council to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission claiming he was unfairly sacked for requesting greater work flexibility to deal with the loss of his home in the summer bushfire emergency.
The United Services Union said Randall Forbes worked at BVSC's waste services department as a systematically engaged casual employee.
The matter of his alleged unfair dismissal came before the IRC on Tuesday, May 26.
The commission directed both parties to confer and to prepare written statements to argue their case. A one-day hearing is to be organised for a date between July 14 and the end of September.
While the council would not comment on the matter, the USU released a media statement on Wednesday.
"Our member recently lost his home in the tragic bushfires that plagued the Bega Valley Shire, and in order to assist him in his time of need he approached his employer to gain more flexibility at work," a union spokesperson said.
"BVSC responded by terminating his employment via email."
The spokesperson claimed Mr Forbes was working "an average of 20 hours a week across nine waste facilities", and the union is taking the matter to arbitration.
"He worked in the same fashion as a permanent employee as recognised in both the Fair Work and NSW Industrial Relations Commission, affording him the same protections that come with it," the spokesperson said.
"After losing his home he approached his employer about greater flexibility and working from the three sites closer to his temporary accommodation.
"The council responded by terminating his employment."