2 May 2017

Port worker with PTSD wins job fight

11:14 am on 2 May 2017

A distressed Lyttelton Port worker, who took a year's sick leave after his friend died on the job has won his fight to get his job back.

Lyttelton Port's Cashin Quay Two is being rebuilt in stages.

Lyttelton Port Photo: SUPPLIED

Chris Arthurs was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2014 after the separate deaths of two other port workers, one of which he witnessed.

In 2008, Mr Arthurs saw a colleague die and took a month's sick leave. Then in 2014, a close friend also died while working at the port.

He was diagnosed with PTSD later that year.

Emails to the port from the "Arthurs Whanau", claimed he was victimised and harassed by the port, and that Mr Arthurs had been "stonewalled".

But after a year off, and refusing to sign consent for a drug test, Mr Arthurs was dismissed by the Lyttelton Port in 2015 for medical incapacity.

In a letter to Mr Arthurs, the Port's operations manger, Paul Monk, said "the reality is that you have been absent ... for over one year, and there is no certainty regarding any return to work".

"I have therefore decided to terminate your employment for medical incapacity," he said.

In a decision released this week, the Employment Relations Authority found that the port did not handle Mr Arthurs' case with fairness or an open mind, and ordered him to be reinstated to his previous position as a cargo handler.

The authority also ordered the port to pay Mr Arthurs $20,000.

It is up to the Lyttelton Port to decide when Mr Arthur can go back to work.

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