The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal dismissed a complaint by a worker who was fired for refusing to wear a mask.
The worker alleged that his religious beliefs prevented him from wearing a mask, and his dismissal constituted discrimination based on religion, a claim that tribunal member Steven Adamson rejected.
According to the screening decision, a recently hired worker arrived at an unnamed facility where he was told by a manager to wear a mask.
The worker refused, saying it was against his “religious creed.”
A manager confirmed that the worker could not enter the facility without a mask. A senior manager then terminated the worker’s contract for not wearing a mask.
According to the decision, the worker said, “We are all made in the image of God, a big part of our image that we all identify with is our face. To cover up our face arbitrarily dishonours God.”
The worker also said that the mask requirement infringed on his “God-given ability to breathe.”
In his decision, tribunal member Steven Adamson said the complainant failed to establish that his objection to masks was “grounded in a sincerely-held religious belief.”
“Rather, his objection is based on his opinion that wearing a mask does not stop the transmission of COVID‐19,” he wrote.
The identities of the workers and employers were not revealed due to a publication ban.
Screening decisions are among the first steps in a tribunal investigation and are normally not made public, but Adamson said this decision was published due to a large volume of complaints alleging discrimination in connection with the requirement to wear face coverings indoors.
— With files from The Canadian PressView link »