Bisexual country firefighter Ken Campagnolo has finally had a win at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In February 2007 Melbourne’s bnews told the story of the Mansfield volunteer firefighter Ken Campagnolo who claimed he was refused a job as a firefighter because of his sexuality and had been subjected to vilification and harassment for many years.

He alleged his local manager at the Department of Sustainability and the Environment (DSE) told him, You’re welcome as a volunteer to fight fires for free, but you’ll never work for us because you’re a poof.

After he went public with his accusations, he was dumped as sports trainer for Bonnie Doon footy club, after being a trainer there and at Mansfield for almost 16 years.

Campagnolo’s complaints were rejected by the Equal Opportunity Commission, no-one would employ him, and he came close to losing his home.

But with the support of a sympathetic gay businessman Campagnolo appealed and, in a stunning turnaround this week, the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) reinstated his case against the DSE.

[DSE] said it was a total fallacy and wanted it struck out but [the tribunal] wouldn’t have a bar of it, Campagnolo said.

The Tribunal also ordered the parties to go to mediation over the DSE’s strenuous objections; flatly rejected the DSE’s claim that they had no case to answer, and tossed out DSE’s request for an order for costs against Campagnolo.

But Campagnolo isn’t celebrating just yet. He’s mindful of how tough it’s been to get this far.

Well, it’s not too bad. The ball’s still in play, he told bnews.

Campagnolo now has a month in which to file a revised statement of claim with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

From bnews -“ www.bnews.net.au

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