B.C. man fired for refusing to wear a mask loses Human Rights case | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. man fired for refusing to wear a mask loses Human Rights case

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
April 09, 2021 - 1:35 PM

A disgruntled B.C. worker who was fired for refusing to wear a mask after he argued that it infringed on his "God given ability to breathe" has had his case rejected by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The fired worker argued that to cover up his face "arbitrarily dishonours God" but the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal dismissed his claim after he failed to mention which particular religion prohibited mask-wearing.

The case is the second involving the refusal to wear a mask that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has publicized recently. In both cases, the Tribunal has refused to hear the matters, and in an unusual move published its reasons for doing so. Ordinarily, complainants would just receive a letter saying they had not provided enough evidence to move forward with their claim.

READ MORE: Anti-masker loses case at B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

The Tribunal said earlier that it was publishing the decision due to a "large volume" of complaints alleging discrimination over the requirement to wear a mask.

In this case, according to an April 9 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision, the worker was contracted to work at a facility and told he had to wear a mask.

He refused to do so saying it was his "religious creed" and was not allowed to enter. The company then fired him for not wearing a mask.

Neither the worker nor the company is identified in the decision.

The worker then filed a Human Rights complaint saying he'd been discriminated against based on his religion.

He described his religious beliefs with numerous statements.

"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 argued in the decision.

The worker argued that it is his "freedom of expression" to show his face in the general public and his religious liberty to identify his face to others.

He also argues that mask-wearing isn't effective.

"God makes truth of high importance that I must follow ethically and morally... forced mask-wearing (does) not help protect anyone from viruses," he said in the decision.

He says he cannot "live in that lie."

The worker also argued that studies show that masks don't work.

However, the Tribunal pointed out that while he'd failed to submit any evidence to support his statements on the effectiveness of mask-wearing, more importantly, he'd also failed to point out which religion prohibited masks.

"The Worker’s opinion that masks are ineffective is not a belief or practice protected from discrimination on the basis of religion," the Tribunal ruled. "His objection is based on his opinion that wearing a mask does not stop the transmission of COVID-19."

The Tribunal spells out that his opinion is not protected under the B.C. Human Rights Act and he'd failed to prove that not wearing a mask gave rise to a "subjective connection to the divine or the subject... of his spiritual faith."

The case mirrors an earlier Human Rights Tribunal case regarding masks, where the complainant argued wearing a mask was against her disability but refused to disclose what that disability was. Her case was also immediately dismissed.

READ MORE: B.C. judge rules 'Pastafarian's' treatment by ICBC not discrimination


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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