Sacked officer 'told to hush up'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 2000, 12:00am

A former Customs officer was abruptly sacked from his job and warned by a superior not to tell anyone about his case, a court heard yesterday.

The 23-year-old man, identified as Mr Wong, and two others are suing the Government for $7 million, saying they were barred from the disciplinary forces jobs because their parents suffered schizophrenia.

Mr Wong undertook an induction course with Customs on May 26 in 1997, after a medical examination on April 28.

But on July 10 that year he was given seven days' notice and told he had failed the medical.

Mr Wong said a superior told him to keep quiet.

'The officer told me not to tell anybody about this case,' he told the District Court.

He secured a job as an assistant airline mechanic after the dismissal, but said he only came to suspect the real reason for his sacking - that his mother suffered schizophrenia - on January 18 last year.

'I read a newspaper report on two other men who have had a similar experience [who] complained to the Equal Opportunities Commission . . . an idea flashed in my mind: maybe I was dismissed because my mother is a schizophrenic,' said Mr Wong.

The Government has defended the recruitment policy, saying that without it unacceptable risks are created.

Judge Donald Christie adjourned the case for written submissions by counsel and will give his ruling later.