Vet challenges removal over wearing of Donald Trump mask while working at a meat plant
A vet is challenging a “savage” decision to remove him from all temporary inspector panels after he wore a Donald Trump mask while working at a meat plant.
Dr Declan Gill wore the mask the day after the US presidential election “as a joke” and gave “a fist pump gesture a la Donald Trump” to a human resources manager there, his counsel Peter Ward told the High Court.
Following a complaint from the meat plant to the Department of Agriculture over the incident, a departmental decision group removed Dr Gill in February 2017 with immediate effect from temporary veterinary inspector panels, work from which he derives 70 per cent of his income, counsel said.
This was a “savage sanction” and an unlawful decision made in breach of his right to fair procedures and without his having had an oral hearing, he said.
David Hardiman SC, for the Department, argued Dr Gill was alerted to the Department's concerns in a letter sent by it to him a week after the November 9, 2016, mask incident and given an opportunity to make submissions.
The department's concerns included inappropriate and unprofessional attire and behaviour and of not fulfilling his contract in a professional manner, he said.
A "jest" is subjective and this “jest” was in the presence of the plant’s human resources manager, Tony Delaney, with whom Dr Gill had said he had a past “history of difficulties”, counsel said.
Mr Delaney had claimed Dr Gill approached him with the Trump mask on, made a closed fist gesture and said: “You’re dead”, leaving him feeling intimidated.