Unlikely reinstatement for Beauty and the Geek contestant
Stephanie Zillman |
Taking sick leave to appear on a reality television program is not due grounds for dismissal – the Federal Magistrates Court has ordered the reinstatement of a Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) worker who appeared on Channel 7’s Beauty and the Geek.
Following 16 months of court proceedings, BoM lost their battle to uphold the dismissal of Adam Marshall, who had been sacked from his role as a weather observer. The court accepted that there were legitimate ‘health benefits’ for geeky BoM worker, Adam Marshall, to participate in the program.
Marshall had been on extended sick leave for recurring anxiety and stress after being moved from the bureau’s Victorian-based Antarctic weather program to the Brisbane regional office. Three months into his leave he applied to extend the leave and appear on Beauty and the Geek. Following consultation with his doctor – who issued a medical certificate citing ‘medical benefits’ for Marshall to appear on the show – his application for leave was rejected and he was sacked. According to the court ruling, Marshall's doctor had believed that the “environment of the Beauty and the Geek would have been quite different and possibly could have been beneficial”.
BoM cited difficulties with the medical certificate as the reason for the dismissal, yet Federal Magistrate Dominica Whelan said they did not have the right to dismiss. Instead, she ordered the bureau to re-hire Marshall in his role as a remote areas weather observer and be back paid the lost earnings from his $75,000 annual salary.
Marshall was paired with former Miss FHM Australia, Emma Ceolin, and the couple lasted three shows before being eliminated.