THE enrolled nurse Alistair Colgrave was driving home after his first shift at a psychiatric unit on the north shore when he received a call from his boss telling him not to return.
The 37-year-old thought he had performed well and had been pencilled in for 15 more casual shifts by the nurse in charge, but a check of records had revealed he had been a patient there a few months earlier.
When I saw your headline, I thought you meant they banned a mother from feeding her child.
Brickbats to the hospital for this. Many, many brickbats.
Kudos to Colgrave for seeking help when he felt he needed it, and I hope this means we get to have a real discussion about the stigma of mental illness and why that stigma is wrong.
However, this quote from Colgrave in the article does not help: “‘I didn’t have a mental breakdown or anything.”
So the discrimination would have been totally fine if he had?
It’s a bit like he’s saying “I’m one of the good mentally ill people, but you’ve still got to look out for those over there.”
(My answer, if it isn’t clear, is that any discrimination at all would have been wrong – assuming, of course, that the facts were the same, ie his prior admission to the unit was the reason for the dismissal, and not any actual behaviour which could legitimately affect his work.)
I would say it can be an advantage to have been a patient, since you know the p atients’ perspective on things.
Does this technically breach any anti-discrimination laws? *sigh* Probably not.
Kite, it’s difficult to say without knowing the whole story – but on the facts as reported, it seems there would at least be an argument that it breaches the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act. Against that, the employment agency would probably say that they didn’t sack him because of his history, but because he didn’t disclose that history in the application (that’s reflected in a quote from an agency spokesperson in the full article). Contra that: should he have to disclose history that is (a) not relevant and (b) could result in discrimination against him? The agency would probably say, well, we would only have used it against him if there was a rational reason. But that’s hard to prove (either way!).
Anyway, that sort of argument for the agency seems a bit disingenuous to me, but I don’t know the caselaw in that area well (ie I don’t know how courts and tribunals tend to accept that kind of argument).
There may also be something within the general field of industrial relations law, which I do not know well at all, which could assist him – but maybe not if he was only casual.