‘Royal love child’ fails to overturn workplace suspension
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Simon Dorante-Day, a Queensland engineer who alleged he was the love child of Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall, has been unsuccessful in his bid to overturn his workplace suspension.
Dorante-Day was employed by the Public Safety Business Agency (“PSBA”) as a Technical Officer. He was suspended following allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour. The allegation came after Dorante-Day demonstrated threatening behaviour towards his manager (who is also the Chief Operating Officer) in a telephone conversation on 11 May 2018.
Dorante-Day threatened that the manager,
- had acted in a fraudulent manner and misrepresented work he carried out;
- was in a ‘driverless car heading for a cliff and going over’;
- was under scrutiny by authorities and had been reported; and
- had victimised Dorante-Day and needed to stop doing so.
On the 17 May 2018 the written complaint was lodged by the manager, and on 1 June 2018 the manager gave Dorante-Day written notice that he was suspended from duty on normal remuneration effective 1 June 2018.
Under section 187 of the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) a public service employee’s chief executive may discipline an employee if the chief executive is reasonably satisfied that the employee breached a disciplinary ground. Section 188(1) provides that discipline can take a wide range of forms from a reprimand to termination. Importantly, section 189 empowers the chief executive to suspend an employee from duty if the chief executive reasonably believes the employee is liable to disciplinary action.
Dorante-Day applied to review his manager’s decision to suspend him on the following grounds:
- Section 190(2) of the PSA was allegedly unconstitutional by being in breach of the applicant’s rights under articles 14, 16 and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
- The manager’s assessment of Dorante-Day, assessment of the appropriate action to be taken and consideration of alternative remedies was in breach of the rules of natural justice;
- Due process was not followed;
- The manager’s decision was influenced by fraud;
- There was insufficient evidence to warrant the decision to suspend Dorante-Day;
- The manager’s decision was contrary to law;
- The subsequent investigation, led by another worker at PSBA, was in breach of the rules of natural justice;
- The letter PSBA sent to Dorante-Day gave inadequate notice of the suspension decision;
- The manager failed take into account other relevant considerations before exercising the power of suspension.
The Court held that the grounds of review could not be established. Dorante-Day’s application was dismissed.