A Queensland nurse is making a human rights claim against Metro North Health Service, after being threatened with the sack.
Margaret Gilbert received a “show cause” letter from Queensland Health after speaking to the media.
Her comments to The Sunday-Mail newspaper related to the standard of training for nurses.
Queensland Health’s code of conduct states that employees cannot make statements to media without authorisation.
Nurse says she is representing members
Ms Gilbert claims she was legally entitled to make the public comments because she is a representative of the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland (NPAQ).
The NPAQ is a rival union to the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union, and represents more than 5000 members.
Worker Law says human rights violated
Industrial relations firm Worker Law is representing Ms Gilbert who is being supported by the NPAQ, enabling her to instruct leading senior counsel Jim Murdoch QC.
Additionally, the Hon Joseph Ludwig and Troy Spence as junior counsel are assisting.
The firm is seeking an urgent injunction against the disciplinary action, arguing Ms Gilbert has a human right to speak to the media.
It describes the case as an important test of existing laws as they relate to industrial associations (non-registered trade unions).
In addition, it says the case is an important test of the state’s new Human Rights Legislation.
In particular, the sections involving freedom of association and freedom of expression that it believes protects people like Ms Gilbert from adverse action for acting as spokespeople for industrial associations like the NPAQ.
Miles Heffernan, spokesperson for Worker Law, said:
“We believe Queensland Health has treated Ms Gilbert unfairly, and further, we believe the state Government has contravened its own human rights laws.
“We will continue to fight for Ms Gilbert, and any other NPAQ member, or any other Queensland public service employee who has had their human rights violated.”
For comment or further information, please contact:
Spokesperson – Worker Law
07 3059 6066 or 0431 366 394