The management has denied claims they prevented her from wearing the mask
A woman on a working holiday visa in Australia claimed she was dismissed from her job after she wore a face mask to work over fears of contracting the deadly coronavirus.
The worker identified as Tiffany, 24, said she opted to wear the mask during her shift at a retail shop in Sydney on 23 January, just as news of the contagion began to make international headlines.
That day, Tiffany’s manager allegedly asked her to remove the protective cover or go home.
Tiffany, who hails from China, said there was little information about the new virus that reportedly emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan. The outbreak reminded her of the similarly contagious respiratory disease SARS, she said.
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“Having the lesson from SARS outbreak in my hometown, wearing a mask is the best way to protect myself from getting the disease,” the woman shared with Daily Mail Australia.
The exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases supposedly prompted her to wear the mask as a matter of protection.
“My job involves numerous face-to face contact with Chinese tourists and I have no idea where in China where they’re from,” she said.
Even when the employee asked to wear the protection in front of tourists from China, her boss allegedly declined her request.
“I don’t think this [wearing a mask] affects my personal working ability,” Tiffany said. “At the same time, I had a mild cough so I didn’t want to spread that.”
Her manager’s boss also allegedly barred her from wearing the mask. “After a while, the boss was back in the shop and he asked me to take my mask off or go home,” she said. “I didn’t seem to have much to choose from there. So, I went home.”
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Having discovered she had been removed from the WhatsApp group where employees received work updates and assignments, she took the move to mean she had indeed been fired.
The employee said she tried contacting her employer by email a few times to ask for her back pay and termination letter, but the emails supposedly bounced back.
On WhatsApp, Tiffany’s boss told her she had not been dismissed. Speaking to the media, he said: “We told her she could take some time off [during the virus] and her job would still be here but she said no.”