Jobseeker felt 'worthless' as recruiter allegedly mocked his weight

An employment agency has refuted claims that they discriminated against a candidate because of his weight.

Jobseeker Daniel Jones, said he was left feeling ‘depressed and worthless’ after trying to gain employment via TURSA, an Australian not-for-profit employment and training agency. A TURSA employee allegedly told Jones to get a medical certificate to permit him to continue to receive financial benefits, without having to work for a set period. When Jones emphasised that he wanted to work, adding that he was aiming to get a certificate in transport and logistics, he was told: “What’s the point in that – no one will give you a job because it’s too much risk getting in and out of trucks.”

Jones said that he had two meetings with the recruiter, where he told him that he was in the process of starting an internet-based herbal tea business. He alleged that the worker sarcastically replied with: “You can’t even get a job, how are you going to run a business? Sitting behind a computer all day is not going to help is it.”

The employee allegedly continued the abuse, looking at Jones disgustedly and said: “I wouldn’t even give you a job” and continued to make a number of weight related digs, such as: “When you’re in your forties and you’re overweight, your chances of getting a job are next to nothing.”

Since filing a formal complaint, Jones has been transferred ETC (Enterprise & Training company) to find work – The Northern Star reports.

TURSA’s Founder and Managing Director, Ron Rathborne, has responded to the claims, saying Jones was not discriminated against because of his weight.

Rathborne said: "We have conducted a thorough internal review and whilst we regret Mr Jones's statements concerning his last interview at TURSA, we cannot agree with the statements he made. We refute absolutely that he was subject to any discrimination or ridicule on our part.

“TURSA has maintained a long-standing relationship with Mr Jones over the years within which we provided significant support - from our own funds as well as from accessible government funds - advice, and options to help him find work or training, or address barriers in securing work. We regret that Mr Jones has chosen - as is his right - to transfer to another employment provider but wish him well for his future, and will provide any required assistance in that transfer.”

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