Advertisement

B.C. worker who said he refused to wear mask due to religion has complaint dismissed by tribunal

Tthe British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal dismssed a complaint by a worker who was fired for refusing to wear a mask. Global News

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.

Click to play video: 'Man accused of spitting on someone when asked to wear a mask at Metrotown' Man accused of spitting on someone when asked to wear a mask at Metrotown
Man accused of spitting on someone when asked to wear a mask at Metrotown – Mar 24, 2021

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Read more: Human Rights Code can’t protect anti-maskers making unproven claims: tribunal

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.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 conflicts and B.C. business operator’s rights' COVID-19 conflicts and B.C. business operator’s rights
COVID-19 conflicts and B.C. business operator’s rights – Feb 23, 2021

“Rather, his objection is based on his opinion that wearing a mask does not stop the transmission of COVID‐19,” he wrote.

Story continues below advertisement
“This is not a belief protected by the [B.C. Human Rights] Code.”

Read more: COVID: Sweeping new restrictions in place including in-person dining at B.C. bars and restaurants

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 Press

Sponsored content