Academic Peter Ridd lost his all-or-nothing appeal against the Ja Universitymy Cooks, after being fired for violating the university's code of conduct relating to public comments on the Great Barrier Reef that the university said disparaged a colleague.
In the first instance it was received $ 1.2 million in compensation from the federal circuit court for the dismissal but it was overturned by the federal court on appeal .
Ridd 's job was terminated by JCU in May 2018 for what he said was a "gross misconduct " under the university 's corporate agreement.
In previous years, Ridd had questioned scientific research carried out by leading institutions, includingGreat Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, according to a court-submitted schedule.
In 2017, Ridd told Sky News that although the scientists "genuinely believe there are issues with the reef ... I think they are emotionally attached to it" and "you can no longer trust their business.
JCU ruled Sky's interview may constitute misconduct and ordered Ridd to keep the disciplinary measures confidential, including two censures , prior to his final dismissal.
The high court battle was an 'all or nothing' case in which JCU claimed all the claims against Ridd were justified, so that he did not consider any valid.
Argument centered on whether intelle freedomThis must be qualified by a requirement to "accord oneself respect and courtesy to others ... in one's area of competence" "under the university's enterprise agreement.
In unanimously dismissing the appeal, the High Court held that the intellectual freedom protected by the enterprise agreement was not "a general freedom of expression" and subject to the constraints of the code of conduct.
"These constraints ... include respect for the legal rights of others, and required an expression of disagreement with the university's decision - to comply with applicable processes, including confidentiality obligations, ”said Wednesday's judgment.
"The exercise of intellectual freedom was not limited by other code of conduct commitments, such as respect or courtesy.
The judgment found the first onet some of the second censorship against Ridd was "unwarranted" as it concerned opinions he honestly defended and which fell within his academic expertise.
"The final censure was justified only insofar as it relied on expressions of opinion unrelated to Dr. Ridd's academic expertise and on findings that he repeatedly failed to meet his obligations confidentiality, "the High Court said.
" Since Dr Ridd handled his case on an all-or-nothing basis, the dismissal decision was justified by the fact that it relied on the conduct of Dr Ridd who was the subject of 18 findings of serious misconduct which were not protected by Cl 14 (the freedom clause). "
Ridd was employed by the university for 27 years and had been ranked by ResearchGate among the top 5%.their researchers around the world.
Right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs announced on Wednesday that Ridd would become a member of the IPA to lead a new research program called Project for Real Science.
"Dr Ridd will donate his time to IPA as an unpaid fellow to work at improving quality assurance in science, making documentary and educational films and ensuring that no academic defending integrity in science will endure the ordeal that Peter has endured, "said declared Executive Director John Roskam.