The Fair Work Commission found that two employees hired by owner of Coral Sea Marina Paul Darrouzet (pictured) were unfairly dismissed. Picture: Laura Thomas
The Fair Work Commission found that two employees hired by owner of Coral Sea Marina Paul Darrouzet (pictured) were unfairly dismissed. Picture: Laura Thomas

‘Harsh, unjust’: Unfair dismissal levelled at marina owner

The Fair Work Commission has found a couple formerly employed by the owner of Coral Sea Marina was unfairly sacked from their roles on-board a luxury yacht.

On February 6 last year, Benjamin Robinson and Lucy Rockell filed an application alleging an unfair dismissal from their employment with Emprja Pty Ltd.

The husband and wife and had been working together on-board a 27-metre MV Norseman owned by Paul Darrouzet, who also owns Coral Sea Marina.

Mr Robinson began working as the vessel captain in January 2017 and Ms Rockell worked as a stewardess from April that same year.

The couple was fired on January 28 last year with the letter of termination stating the decision was “purely on the basis of (Mr Robinson’s) performance not being at the required level to meet the operational needs of the business”.

The Norseman is owned by Paul Darrouzet, who also owns Coral Sea Marina. Picture: Supplied
The Norseman is owned by Paul Darrouzet, who also owns Coral Sea Marina. Picture: Supplied

Among the reasons listed for Mr Robinson’s dismissal was an alleged failure to correctly apply for annual leave and TOIL, and unauthorised leave.

Several incidents were also brought up, including allegations Mr Robinson “failed to adequately supervise” $200,000 worth of repair work when he took the boat to the Gold Coast.

This meant the generators were overlooked and later failed, costing Mr Darrouzet more money.

It was also alleged Mr Robinson did not source the “cheapest and best alternative for the required repair work”, taking the boat to the Gold Coast rather than having work done locally.

The trip to the Gold Coast cost $60,000 in fuel and a month in transport.

Mr Darrouzet also argued Mr Robinson did not get authorisation for $4373 worth of spending and hired labourers to clean the boat without approval.

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When Mr Darrouzet gave evidence, he alleged the failure to maintain the boat was intentional and could be considered “sabotage” and that the pair hired a rental car, booked accommodation and bought dinner on their corporate subsidiary credit card.

However, these claims were rejected by Fair Work Commission deputy president Nicholas Lake who found that the dismissal was “both harsh and unjust”.

Mr Lake also slammed Mr Darruozet when drawing conclusions on the case, saying he “clearly adopted a retrospective approach, searching for further allegations to help bolster the claim that there was a valid reason beyond what began as a rather vague and generic justification”.

Mr Darrouzet, Mr Robinson and Ms Rockwell will file submissions with suggestions on compensation.


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