Working Class Whistler
The Anti-Discrimination Commission
The Anti-Discrimination Commission
On the basis of the new information received from Mr CG I sought the help of the Welfare Rights Solicitor, Mr L Laikind, who advised me to submit a further discrimination claim to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
The date on MrLaikind's letter is significant because, at that particular point in time before Queensland Health received my complaint, an unnamed Queensland Health officer provided Ms Mason with my personnel file from which she retained pertinent correspondence she then withheld from the investigation; later located and retrieved from her office through Freedom of Information upon completion of the investigation:
I followed Mr Laikind's advice, initially writing to the HREOC which could not assist:
It was then I requested a further review from the ADCQ on the basis of Mr CG's confirmation that Ms Mason deceived me into believing the restriction placed on my required footwear had been authorized by WPHS and, when the restriction forced me to resign, she processed my resignation in the full knowledge it was based upon her lie.
Freedom of Information (FOI) later released the ADCQ consideration of this extra information:
The ADCQ accepted my complaint:
FOI later released the Queensland Health diary used as the template for their responses to the ADCQ.
Notably the information in the correspondence extracted from my file by Ms Mason was excluded from the diary. Having provided copies of that evidence to support my complaint, it seems probable the ADCQ would have enclosed that evidence with the complaint when forwarding it to Queensland Health to self-investigate.
The ADCQ Conciliator forwarded the Queensland Health responses which were clear of information removed from my personnel file and excluded from the diary template:
The District Manager's prepared response:
Dr Menzies statement confirmed Mr CG's verification, that Ms Mason's claims in her letter dated 25 May 1998 were false, when admitting that Ms Mason did not make the stated inquiries until June.
Ms Mason's response was also modified to conform with the prepared Queensland Health diary template:
In harmony with Dr Menzies statement Ms Mason had excluded the events from September 1997, when she received the letter from my doctor, to February 1998, when I submitted a formal grievance against her.
Her statement was ambiguous:
(1) She denied all knowledge of my doctor's letter.
(2) When referring to her letter dated 25 May 1998 Ms Mason withheld her claim to have made specific inquiries with the Department of WPHS, regarding my footwear requirements due to my disabilities.
(3) She also withheld her claim in that letter that, following those inquiries, I was required by the Department to make alternative footwear arrangements.
(4) Ms Mason admitted she had not made those specific inquiries but had made general inquiries with a WPHS representative about other nurses who were generally wearing clogs.
(5) She excluded the waiver I withheld my resignation for on 22 June 1998.
(6) She withheld the true reason for my resignation.
(7) She falsely stated I resigned because my nurses registration was due.
(8) Ms Mason admitted that following her two emails to Mr G Hitchings of WPHS, which were not responded to, she finally made contact with Mr CG, on 23 June 1998, who reported on the matter of my footwear after she had processed my resignation.
(9) She confirmed it was my boss, CN Clench, who initiated the restriction on my footwear.
Ms Mason provided the two emails which she admitted had not been responded to:
The waiver I withheld my resignation for, which was not acknowledged by Dr Menzies or Ms Mason, is confirmed in the second email:
I responded to the ADCQ conciliator, Mr Weekes:
Although Ms Mason confirmed CN Clench raised the issue of my footwear, following the resolution of the grievance, neither Queensland Health nor the ADCQ appeared to question why CN Clench raised the issue at such a questionable time, or why she was not required to respond.
Mr Laikind advised his receipt of a letter from the ADCQ.
The Commissioner found my complaint to be lacking in substance:
In harmony with Dr Menzies and Ms Mason, the Commissioner had eluded Ms Mason's claims in her letter dated 25 May 1998.
Enclosed were some attachments from Ms Mason:
It appeared that CN Clench should have correctly raised her objection with the appropriate CNC and not Ms Mason, who was the Director of Nursing.
Equally, Ms Mason failed to explain why she had not referred CN Clench's objection to the appropriate CNC.
Ms Mason's memo dated 18 May 1999 sought the same advice received from WPHS in 1998; regarding staff wearing clogs.
Regarding her inquiries with WPHS prior to my resignation in June 1998, Ms Mason had stated to the Commissioner:
“Over the next few weeks…I discussed the issue of sandals and clogs…some staff had also commenced wearing clogs…The WPHS representative believed that staff should wear enclosed protective footwear. I did not refer specifically to the situation with Ms Hollywood’s sandals or her disability.”
The Commissioner seemed eager to dismiss my evidence and Mr CG's information, regarding Ms Mason's inquiries prior to my resignation on 23 June 1998. She had ignored the waiver for which I withheld my resignation on 22 June 1998 and seemed to believe that what had happened to me was my fault.
What happened was as completely out of my control as the Commissioner's stance to change the basis
upon which she had accepted my complaint.
Mr Laikind responded to the Commissioner:
Three and a half months passed before the Commissioner reluctantly agreed my complaint was not lacking in substance:
My evidence and witnesses, provided to substantiate the true time-line of the discrimination and what Ms Mason was advised by my doctor, had been completely disregarded.
I was fearful of the impending conference because my discrimination complaint had not been investigated!