No mask, no job: Board upholds firing of Dayton worker over COVID rules

Employee sought exemption in 2021, said he wouldn’t comply; Civil Service Board says he gave no proof of physical, mental or religious Issue

Dayton’s Civil Service Board has affirmed the firing of a Dayton employee who refused to wear a mask while inside city facilities last summer.

Kyle Seaquist, who worked as a construction electrician with Dayton’s aviation department, last year made a “reasonable accommodation” request, says an order from the Civil Service Board.

He asked for an exemption to the city’s rules requiring employees to get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID testing.

The Civil Service Board ruled that Seaquist did not provide proof that he had a physical, mental or religious basis for not complying with city workplace health and safety regulations.

Seaquist’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Seaquist, who started working for the city in the water department in 2015, showed up to a city facility ahead of an August 2021 exemption hearing without a mask.

Dayton’s HR Director Ken Couch told Seaquist to get a facial covering, but he did not do as directed, the civil service order states.

He was also told by a hearing officer that he needed a mask and he was given one to wear during the meeting.

But he put it under his chin, instead of covering his nose and mouth, and the hearing officer testified that she sent Seaquist home after he refused to wear the facial cover properly.

Seaquist said he requested a religious exemption from Dayton’s testing and vaccination policy even though he did not belong to any organized religion, the order states.

Seaquist said he was a Christian and his request was based on his beliefs and reading of the Bible.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

After the exemption meeting was cancelled, Seaquist amended his accommodation request, asking to also be exempt from masks as well as testing and vaccination requirements.

But city officials said Seaquist was placed on unpaid leave status after he indicated he did not intend to comply with the mask requirement, the order states.

He was warned that being absent from work without proper leave violated city policy and could subject him to discipline, including termination. Seaquist was officially discharged last fall.

About the Author