Bonnie Doon Football Club has been found to have breached Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act by sacking bisexual football trainer Ken Campagnolo in 2007.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Campagnolo’s complaint of discrimination was proven but has refused to take any further action on the matter.
VCAT member Anna Dea said in her final judgement while she found that Campagnolo’s sexuality was a driving force in his sacking there were other issues at play.
“I am satisfied that Mr Campagnolo’s sexual orientation was a substantial reason for the decision made by the [Bonnie Doon FC] Committee that he should not be allowed to act as a trainer,” Dea said.
Dea stated the club had breached Section 65 of the Equal Opportunity Act which relates to discrimination in sports.
Campagnolo’s complaint of victimisation by then senior coach Darren Wellwood for making a death threat against him was dismissed.
Dea said she found three reasons the club had ended Campagnolo’s employment.
“Firstly his sexual orientation, secondly the individual committee members’ concerns about his judgement and past conduct, and thirdly the concern to avoid parents removing their sons due to the presence of Mr Campagnolo and thereby protect the viability of the under 17s team.
“In the circumstances of this case, I am unable to unravel these intertwined reasons and identify one as being more important than the other.
“In my view there were each substantial reasons for the committee’s decision.”
Boonie Doon FC Committtee members gave evidence they had concerns about Campagnolo’s past dealings with teenagers in the local area.
Club president Terry Dale said he would “keep an eye on” Campagnolo around the club because of persistent rumours he had shown 16-year-olds pornographic material and allowed them to drink alcohol in his home.
In Campagnolo’s claim for financial compensation, Dea found the discrimination did not impact on his income or ability to find employment.
“This conclusion ought not be taken in any way to condone the discrimination I have found to have occurred,” Dea said.
“It was in breach of the Act and was wrong.”