Service station manager forged safety documents

By Patrice Dougan

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

A manager at a BP service station has lost his case for unjustified dismissal after he was caught forging safety documents.

Venu Basani was dismissed from his job at the Herne Bay service station for "serious misconduct" after his managers believed he had given them a false record of safety checks carried out as part of the company's Health Safety Security Environment inspection procedures.

Mr Basani denied the allegations, claiming he was being "intimidated" and "humiliated" by the company. He took a case to the Employment Relations Authority insisting he was treated unfairly because he is Indian.

However, the ERA ruled that BP was justified in its dismissal of Mr Basani and found that he had falsified documents.

In August last year senior BP managers Darren Coe and Jason McMenamin visited the station where Mr Basani worked and requested to view the safety checklist for July.

The seven-page checklist details numerous items to be checked every day, and signed off at the end of the month.

However, Mr Basani and his co-worker Satish Barji could not find the completed checklist for July. It was not in the safety cupboard where it was supposed to be kept.

After initially claiming they had not received a booklet for that quarter, Mr Basani arrived at a follow-up meeting two days later with a makeshift checklist which he said they had found the previous morning.

Mr Coe did not believe the document was genuine and after further meetings, fired Mr Basani in September for serious misconduct.

During an investigation into the incident, a blank booklet for the missing quarter was found in a cupboard above Mr Basani's desk.

The third party supplier who provided the company with the booklets had no record of Mr Basani contacting it to complain he had not received a booklet, as he claimed to have done.

The ERA rejected Mr Basani's claims of intimidation and that he was being punished over a disagreement over a previous disciplinary matter concerning Mr Barji.

In its ruling the ERA said that Mr Basani "failed to recognise any responsibility in the matter" and said Mr Coe "had good reason to lose trust and confidence" in him.

It also rejected Mr Basani's claims that he was treated differently because of his ethnicity.

Costs were reserved.

- APNZ

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