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A group of unvaccinated nurses, firefighters, teachers, police, and prison guards, who were all stood down from their jobs for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine, are taking a discrimination complaint to court.
This collective is claiming their anti-vaxx stance is a 'disability' and the 250-strong group intends to lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission, according to The West Australian.
If the complaint is upheld, the sacked workers would be able to seek reemployment and back-pay through Australia's Federal Court.
Hotchkin Hanly Lawyers partner Mark Hemery, who is representing the group of anti-vaxxers, said the 'first wave' of complaints would be lodged within a fortnight and will focus on the cases of more than 80 healthcare workers.
The second batch will feature submissions on behalf of police, firefighters, prison guards and teachers.
That submission will be filed towards the end of April, and The West Australian says it could include complaints lodged on behalf of some tradies and FIFO employees.
Mr Hemery said the group will grow significantly if dumped construction workers chose to join the group action.
The lawyer's current trove of clients is headed up by WA Police senior constable Ben Falconer, after he and 28 other officers were stood down from their jobs for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The application for judicial review of the police mandate is currently before the Supreme Court, and it names WA's Chief Health Officer (CHO) Andy Robertson and WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson as respondents.
Dawson is set to be West Australia's 34th Governor, according to the ABC.
The police trial had previously been listed to kick off on March 29, but was adjourned when the State Solicitor’s Office withdrew an affidavit by the WA CHO, which deprived Falconer's legal team from the chance to cross-examine Dr Robertson in court.
That has resulted in a new application on behalf of the Senior Constable to submit expert evidence to support his claim from Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky.
Ben Falconer, who has described himself as "pro-choice", had asked for a judicial review of disciplinary procedures regarding those officers who did not want a COVID vaccine.— Great White Buffalo (@ajoshea88) December 26, 2021
Supreme Court Justice Jeremy Allanson has granted an injunction
Petrovsky was previously a key witness in a High Court challenge in New Zealand that saw in vaccine mandates for police and defence force employees ruled as unjustified.
While Falconer and his colleagues are receiving full pay in in the interim while they levy their complaint in the courts, that is not the same for sacked West Australian workers in other industries.
Lawyer Mark Hemery said their applications for judicial review are currently put on hold while they wait for an outcome of the police case.
“That is why we are lodging disability discrimination complaints with the Human Rights Commission because it would provide a platform for those workers to seek re-instatement and back pay,” he said.
Featured Image Credit: James Cole / Alamy Stock Photo. PhotoEdit / Alamy Stock Photo.
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