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Former Sex Worker Challenges Employer Over Unlawful Termination

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Former Sex Worker Challenges Employer Over Unlawful Termination

Chelsea Sirolli, a former sex industry worker, found herself in a legal battle with her employer in Victoria after being fired just two days into a new job at a real estate agency.

According to Ms. Sirolli, she was terminated after a colleague raised concerns about her previous involvement in the sex industry, resulting in a meeting where she was informed of the decision.

An email from the company cited concerns over online adult content featuring Ms. Sirolli that did not align with the company’s image and reputation in the business community.

Despite this being the third instance of dismissal due to her past, Ms. Sirolli found solace in the recent changes in legislation.

In May 2022, Victoria passed a law making it illegal to discriminate based on prior or current involvement in the sex industry, empowering individuals like Ms. Sirolli to challenge unfair treatment.

Ms. Sirolli decided to take her case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), aiming not only to seek compensation but also to advocate for others facing similar discrimination.

The company directors reportedly justified the termination by citing community conservatism as a reason for Ms. Sirolli’s dismissal, illustrating the deep-seated stigma surrounding the sex industry.

Since the legal reforms, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has received multiple complaints related to discriminatory practices against individuals with a history in the sex industry.

Former MP Fiona Patten, a key figure in the decriminalization of sex work, expressed hope that cases like Ms. Sirolli’s would deter future discriminatory actions from employers.

Support for sex workers’ rights and the eradication of stigma comes from organizations like Scarlet Alliance and Vixen, highlighting the ongoing societal challenges faced by individuals in the industry.

Rachel Adams

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