Human Rights Legal Support Centre

Human Rights Stories

More Cases

Summarized below are a selection of Human Rights Tribunal decisions in cases where the Human Rights Legal Support Centre provided representation to the applicant at the hearing.

Many cases are resolved before a hearing takes place at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. See Negotiating Results in Human Rights Cases for examples of how the Centre negotiated changes to business practices to prevent discrimination from happening to someone else.


More Employment Hearings

Kohli v. International Clothiers, 2012 HRTO 153

(Gender)

Ms. Kohli had twice been passed over for promotion to Assistant Manager positions because she was a woman. The Tribunal accepted that Ms. Kohli had been told by her store manager that she was not suitable for an Assistant Manager position because she was a woman and that when she challenged these decisions, she was subject to reprisal. Further, the Tribunal found the company made no real effort to investigate the reprisal allegations.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $12,000 to the Applicant in damages for the loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $23,586.59 in lost wages
  • The Respondents to complete Ontario Human Rights Commission’s on-line human rights training and provide copies of the certificates of completion to the Applicant
  • The Respondents to retain an expert in human rights law to develop a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy including an internal complaints mechanism.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Knibbs v. Brant Artillery Gunners Club, 2011 HRTO 1032

(Gender, disability, association and reprisal)

Ms. Knibbs and Ms. Long were both fired from their jobs as bartenders at the Brant Artillery Gunners Club. While Ms. Knibbs was on a medical leave, she was demoted from full-time to part-time status, had confidential medical information about her publicized, and was laid off. When she filed a human rights claim, she was accused of theft and reported to the police. Ms. Long had her hours reduced after she became pregnant and had a temporary disability.

The Tribunal found that “the cumulative effect of the Respondents’ discriminatory actions and the threat of reprisal effectively ended Ms. Knibb’s employment with the Club. The work environment and employment relationship were so poisoned by the Respondent’s actions that Ms. Knibbs could not have returned to her position.” The Tribunal also found that the Respondent’s letter to the police “was an act of reprisal against Ms. Knibbs.”

With respect to Ms. Long, the Tribunal found the employer did not give any consideration to accommodating her temporary disability. The Tribunal also found that the refusal to allow Ms. Long to work at night relied on stereotypes about pregnant women and was discriminatory.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $20,000 and $13,000 respectively to both Applicants for the loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • Compensation for their lost income, $16,083.99 and $6,084 respectively
  • Compensation to Ms. Long for any lost EI maternity/parental benefits as a result of having fewer insurable hours
  • The Club to retain a consultant with expertise in human rights to assist in drafting and implementing a policy on harassment and discrimination, including components on disability, pregnancy, reprisal, association, and the duty to accommodate
  • The Club’s officers, committee chairpersons, managers, and supervisors to complete the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s online training module on human rights and provide copies of the certificates of completion to the Applicants.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Tearne v. City of Windsor 2011 HRTO 2294

(Age)

The City of Windsor withdrew a conditional offer of employment as a part-time arena attendant after Mr. Tearne was unable to complete pre-employment testing related to heart testing.

The City argued that the job in question was a heavy one, and that valid, related and necessary pre-employment testing was discontinued after two attempts because of concern for Mr. Tearne’s safety and well-being.

The Tribunal found that the expert evidence did not establish that an elevated risk for cardiac events exists when higher heart rates are reached while undertaking strength-related activities such as those included in the pre-employment testing. The Tribunal accepted the evidence of the Centre’s medical expert that older adults can routinely engage in strength activities without associated incidents of fatality or cardiac events.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $10, 000 to the Applicant for monetary compensation for loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • Lost wages (to be calculated)
  • The Applicant to be placed in the job if he successfully completes the City’s pre-employment testing.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Lauzon v. Ontario Provincial Police, 2011 HRTO 1404

(Disability)

Mr. Lauzon wanted to apply to become a police constable after he had been working as an auxiliary officer with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) for many years. As an initial step, he was required to go through a pre-interview assessment used by the OPP. He met the standards for each of the tests in the assessment except the vision test. Because he did not meet the standard for depth perception, he was not allowed to continue in the application process.

The Tribunal found “the Respondents have not met their onus of establishing that the existing measurement of depth perception is reasonably necessary to accomplish the goal of a police officer being able to do his/her work safely and that the Respondents cannot accommodate individual capabilities and differences without incurring undue hardship. As a result I find that the Applicant was discriminated against on the basis of disability.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $8,000 to the Applicant for monetary compensation for loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • The Respondent (OPP) to issue a Certificate of Results to the Applicant effective the date of the decision
  • The Respondent (OPP) to cease relying on the standard of “stereo acuity of 80 seconds of arc or better” as a vision requirement in the Constable Selection System.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Couchie v. Ontario (Municipal Affairs and Housing), 2011 HRTO 689

(Ancestry)

Ms. Couchie was terminated after the first of six sessions she was contracted to deliver on Aboriginal relations for staff from various Ontario government ministries. Evaluations from that first session included comments such as “whining about all the past historical injustices.” Her non-Aboriginal co-presenter also received negative reviews. One week later, Ms. Couchie’s contract was terminated at the direction of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Her co-presenter, however, was retained - with the direction that he get some “refresher work.”

The Tribunal concluded that Ms. Couchie was subject to “heightened scrutiny, disproportionate blame and over-reaction when compared to her co-presenter.” They also found that the Ministry “was prepared to remediate the poor performance of the non-Aboriginal person, but was not prepared to remediate the performance of the Aboriginal person.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $20,000 to the Applicant for loss of the of the right to be free from discrimination

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Chuvalo v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2010 HRTO 2037

(Gender and race)

Ms. Chuvalo was terminated by the Toronto Police Service after she made an official complaint about harassment by her supervisor based on gender, ethnic/place of origin and ancestry.

The Tribunal concluded that Ms. Chuvalo had been harassed based on gender as well as ethnic/place of origin and ancestry. The Tribunal found that her supervisor “took an active and possessive interest in her… and then when she failed to reciprocate that interest, he expressed hostility (both overt and subtle) towards her.” The Tribunal found that this hostility included calling her a “bimbo” and negative remarks about her ethnic background and her English language proficiency. The Tribunal further found that his “behaviour stripped her of her dignity as a woman, served to isolate her within the unit and made going into work very stressful.”

The decision also held that the internal investigation of her harassment complaint was not properly conducted.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $20,000 to the Applicant as compensation for loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • The Toronto Police Services to retain the services of an external human rights expert to develop training material for the investigation of harassment, discrimination and reprisal complaints by its Professional Standards Unit
  • The Toronto Police Services to conduct training of investigation personnel within four months of the date of the decision.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Kotevski v. 1217993 Ontario Wimpy’s Diner, 2011 HRTO 705

(Gender, sexual harassment)

Ms. Kotevski was subject to repeated harassment over a period of two years that escalated in the last year of her employment. She was subjected to sexual assault by her employer, and afraid and anxious to be alone in the restaurant.

The Tribunal found that “the Applicant has suffered fear, humiliation and loss of self-respect, a loss of dignity and damage to her self-esteem and confidence. The effects of her treatment at work have affected her personal and family life.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $40,000 to the Applicant as compensation for the loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $1228 to the Applicant as compensation for wage loss
  • The Respondent to review the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Preventing Sexual and Gender-based Harassment
  • The Respondent to develop a written policy for dealing with complaints of harassment and send a copy to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for the Applicant.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Harriott v. Money Mart, 2010 HRTO 353

(Gender, sexual harassment)

Ms. Harriott was subjected to sexual harassment by her supervisor at a Toronto Money Mart office and complained to the district manager.

The Tribunal found that the Money Mart district manager “proceeded to attack the Applicant about the validity of her complaint and whether she understood what sexual harassment was, despite the fact that she was the company representative who knew of the complaints that she had received in previous months from other female employees.” The Tribunal found that the harassment was “relentless” and that the company had “completely failed” to investigate complaints.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $30,000 to the Applicant for violation of the inherent right to be free from discrimination and harassment
  • The Respondent to amend their harassment and discrimination policy and to distribute it to every employee in Ontario
  • The Respondent to train all Ontario managerial staff about human rights within 6 months from the date of the decision, covering all basic principles of human rights law including what constitutes sexual harassment, the obligation to maintain a harassment-free workplace and the components of a good investigation process.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


C.D. v. Wal-Mart Canada, 2010 HRTO 642

(Family Status)

C.D. worked weekdays so that she could be free on evenings and weekends to take care of her disabled grandson. She was the only source of support for her grandson and, due to his unique needs, was the only person capable of caring for him. Wal-Mart changed her hours of work, requiring her to work evenings and weekends. Wal-Mart reduced her hours when she refused, bringing her under the benefits threshold.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • The Respondent to allow C.D. to work specific times on weekdays when she is not required to attend to the unique needs of her family member.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Dhamrait v. JVI Canada, 2010 HRTO 1085

(Country of Origin)

Ms. Dhamrait and Mr. Gill were told by their employer that they should speak English not Punjabi during their lunch break. They both filed human rights applications after they were terminated. The Tribunal found that one of the terminations was linked to discrimination but that the other termination was because of downsizing and not discriminatory.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $3,000 to each Applicant for loss arising from the infringement of their rights under the Code
  • $18,500 for lost wages to Ms. Dhamrait
  • $10,000 to Ms. Dhamrait with respect to the termination of her employment
  • Reinstatement of Ms. Dhamrait to her former position

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Khan v. Lynx Trucking, 2010 HRTO 265

(Race)

Ms. Khan was repeatedly subject to racist slurs at her workplace and witnessed verbal assaults directed at other employees of diverse racial backgrounds. She repeatedly told her employer to stop and was ultimately fired.

The Tribunal found the “deliberately cruel references to the Applicant … to be indications that the (employer) considered the Applicant inferior.” The Tribunal noted that the evidence of current employees testifying on the owner’s part was “inconsistent, troublesome” and “attempting to hide aspects of (his) behaviour, most particularly his use of racial comments, and present him in a more favourable light.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $25,000 to the Applicant for violation of the inherent right to be free from discrimination and harassment, and for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect
  • The employer to hire a human rights expert and develop a human rights and anti-harassment policy within 6 months to be distributed to current and all future employees
  • The employer to complete human rights training.

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Maciel v. Fashion Coiffures, 2009 HRTO 1804

(Sex-Pregnancy))

Ms. Maciel was terminated on her first shift immediately after telling her employer she was pregnant.

The Tribunal found that Ms. Maciel’s pregnancy was “likely the only factor in the Respondent’s decision to terminate her employment.” The Tribunal noted, “I am mindful of the vulnerability of the Applicant. She was young, just out of school, and coping with an unplanned pregnancy. This was to have been her first full-time job, which she testified she was very excited about, making the experience that followed that much more distressing.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $15,000 as compensation for the loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $9,060 to the Applicant for lost wages
  • $11,659 as compensation for her loss of maternity leave and parental leave benefits
  • The employer to implement a policy regarding accommodation of pregnant employees

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Simpson v. JB & M Walker, 2010 HRTO 819

(Disability)

Ms. Simpson needed temporary modifications to her job at Tim Hortons after experiencing two work-related injuries. After initially complying with the restrictions set out by Ms. Simpson’s doctor, her employer became impatient and demanded that the employee return to her pre-injury job. When she insisted on following her doctor’s instructions, the employer began to harass her daily, alleging that she was faking her injuries.

The Tribunal found that the individual Respondent spoke to Ms. Simpson on multiple occasions demanding that she return to work when she felt she was medically unable to do so. The Tribunal held that “this alone would constitute a course of vexatious behaviour. Moreover, it is common ground that on the last occasion the individual Respondent spoke directly to the Applicant and suggested to her that if she was found to have defrauded the WSIB, she would have to pay the WSIB back. This was sufficiently upsetting that the Applicant wound up in tears and commenced a stress leave following her shift. Even if the individual Respondent was unaware that his comments were unwelcome, a reasonable person in the Respondent’s position would know that they were.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $15,000 to the Applicant as compensation for the loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $13,896 to the Applicant for lost wages

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Torrejon v. 114735 Ontario, 2010 HRTO 934

(Disability)

Ms. Torrejon was terminated from her job after she advised her supervisors that she required an indefinite leave to receive treatment for breast cancer.

The Tribunal found that “the Respondent acted upon this mistaken belief that it could terminate the employment of the Applicant, who was going to require time off work for surgery and treatment, without regard to whether or not her disability-related absence could be accommodated short of undue hardship.”

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $20,000 to the Applicant as compensation for loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $2,640 to the Applicant as compensation for loss of employment income
  • Human rights training for the supervisors involved

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


Vetricek v. 642518 Canada, 2010 HRTO 757

(Disability)

Mr. Vetricek’s employer knew he had a shoulder injury that required a medical absence from work. His contract was changed several times and he was ultimately laid off. The company admitted that one of the reasons for the layoff was the absences from work.

Shortly after Mr. Vetricek showed his employer his x-rays and inquired about his health benefits, he was fired. The Tribunal found that the “stated reason for terminating the Applicant is not in accord with the facts”. The Tribunal concluded that the employer terminated Mr. Vetricek because of potential absences as a resulting of his continuing disability.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $15,000 to the Applicant as compensation for loss of the right to be free from discrimination
  • $52,000 to the Applicant as compensation for wage loss from the date of termination to the date of the hearing

To read the full decision, visit CanLII


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