Official claims lost job for not drinking

2012-07-19 22:25
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Cape Town - A Western Cape official was transferred because of his lifestyle choices, the Cape Town Labour Court heard on Thursday.

Transport MEC Robin Carlisle's former spokesperson Steven Otter was recently transferred to Premier Helen Zille's strategic communications unit.

In an application for an urgent interdict to get his job back, Otter claimed the transfer was illegal and he was discriminated against because he was a vegetarian and teetotaller.

In court on Thursday, his lawyer Jerome van der Schyff said the department had been trying to get rid of him since last year, but that no formal or informal disciplinary steps had been taken.

"What is crystal clear is that the minister [Carlisle] does not like the fact that the applicant in this matter has an alternative diet," he said.

"This is a diet. This is his choice not to consume alcohol."

He said the only logical conclusion he could make was that there was unease about Otter not fitting in with the rest of the employees, insofar as the employer perceived the correct employee to be.

This prototype was "an alpha male, someone who eats red meat".

Otter wants the court to set aside the transfer and reinstate him, even though someone has been hired to replace him.

The respondents in the matter are the Western Cape government, Carlisle and transport and public works department head Hector Eliott.

Judgment was reserved.

Read more on:    robin carlisle  |  cape town  |  local government

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