Reply To: Mask exemption discrimination

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Damian Hackett

Hi! I am an electrician currently working through an agency. Today 1/7, I entered a job site within a Sydney university, and was told by the onsite builder that I could not enter without a mask. I immediately and respectfully stated that I was exempt. His response was that he didn’t care, and that if I didn’t wear it, I wasn’t coming on site.
I calmly stated that exemptions were in place for a reason, and that he would be discriminating against me if he were to deny me access (disability and discrimination act 1992, section 6 referenced). Still nothing.
I then proceeded to contact his office and go through everything with them, and asked that they please correct this situation so that I may get on with my work.
Still after they contacted him, the onsite builder proceeded to contact the general manager of the electrical company, who then contacted the agency, who then contacted me, telling me that if I didn’t comply, that I would be moved on (this is the short version).
From there, I reiterated that by discriminating against me, and denying me access to do my job based on my inability to wear the mask, that it would be forcing my hand ( without malice or ill will) , and that I would have to pursue civil action.
It continued to go higher, and I next received a call from the director of the agency I am currently employed by, basically saying that their hands are tied and I had to either comply or leave. A further note was mentioned by the electrical company, that they would sent back over 30+ other electricians currently sub-contracted to the electrical company if it did not get resolved.
At this point, I agreed to atleast place the mask on my person when passing through a common area.
I’m proud of how I dealt with it, but amazed at the amount of push back i received. I requested that they give me what they had said in writing, and it does not appear that they will be doing that.

Perhaps this is a lesson for future reference, to be prepared with a recording device at first sign this sort of altercation might happen.

Can anyone tell me whether I have any basis for a civil suit without having that hard evidence, if I was to go down that route?
Now may not necessarily be the time, but I have a feeling I am definitely going to need to know the ins and outs of this in future.
I would really appreciate any help or information if anyone has the means to do so.
I am looking to start a law conversation group with some friends, and this is valuable information to know.

Thank you 🙂