BaptCare aged care worker sacked for breathing on a reporter at lockdown protest

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A woman who breathed on a 9News reporter covering a protest about Victoria’s latest lockdown in Flagstaff Gardens in the Melbourne CBD on 29 May was an employee of Not For Profit operator BaptCare.

Reid Butler was covering the protest when the woman came up to him and breathed on his face and had to be escorted away by police.

“The behaviour of this employee doesn’t reflect who we are as an organisation, our values, or our unwavering commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, customers and clients,” BaptCare said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The employee’s behaviour does not align with our core values, centred on respect and wellbeing for others. The employee also failed to practice social distancing, and did not wear a face mask, mandated at this time so as to minimise the spread of infections, such as COVID-19.

“Baptcare does not condone the actions of this employee, which were unacceptable, and out of step with our expectations as an employer, and the expectations of the community more broadly. To this end, Baptcare commenced a review of the incident relating to the employee’s behaviour. The review has concluded, and the person has left our employ.

“Finally, we would like to acknowledge and thank all of our staff who are working tirelessly day-in-day-out across aged care, home care, family and community services, mental health, affordable housing and disability services. Many of them have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic for close to a year and a half now. We are also extremely thankful to all of our volunteers, family & friends and broader community, for their continued support at this difficult time.”