Bus drivers warned after veil incidents

Photo / file
Photo / file

Two Auckland bus drivers have been given a final warning and counselling after two incidents in May involving Muslim woman wearing veils.

In one incident a Saudi Arabian student was left crying on the street after a bus driver refused to let her board because of her veil.

The Saudi Arabia Consulate-General wrote to the Government to complain about the incident, and another, two days earlier, when a driver for the same company told another woman to remove her veil.

NZ Bus told Fairfax Media both drivers had been sent on counselling programmes - and had been found to be suffering from "maskophobia".

"Both drivers ... claim it's not religious ... but they genuinely have a phobia of people wearing masks, hence why we have not dismissed them," general manager Jon Calder told the newspaper.

The husband of one of the women, said he would lodge an official complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

A Human Rights Commission spokesman said the incidents appeared to amount to discrimination on religious grounds.

One driver had completed counselling programmes, had visited a mosque and had apologised to one of the women.

The other was undergoing the same programme.

The Phobic Trust chief executive Marcia Read said people could be phobic of anything, and phobias could affect anyone at any time.

- NZPA

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