In a separate incident in November 2018, the commission found Mr Sikalias “slapped Ms Currey on her left buttock with an open hand and forcefully” and then told her he had meant to only touch her back.
These incidents, which left Ms Currey “shaken”, justified Qantas’ decision to fire Mr Sikalias in March last year, Deputy President Gostencnik found.
Mr Sikalias, who denied he had ever harassed anyone and said he behaved professionally at work, had argued Qantas’ decision was unfair and too harsh. The 55-year-old engineer told the commission it had forced him to move back in with his parents and stopped him providing for his two school-aged children.
Ms Currey complained to other flight attendants about Mr Sikalias’ actions around the time they happened, but they did not witness the slap.
Steve Purvinas, federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Engineers Association, which represented Mr Sikalias, said he was disappointed by the Fair Work decision.
“A man with 37 years’ experience, the only job he’s ever had in his life, has lost his income and career because of one report to which there are no witnesses,” Mr Purvinas said.
A Qantas spokesman welcomed the decision and said the airline had no tolerance for any form of harassment. “Everyone should feel safe and respected when they come to work,” the spokesman said.