In a recent Ontario Human Rights Tribunal case, an employer was required to pay $1,500 for the applicant’s hurt feelings because on the day he was being “tried out for the job”, he was asked by one of the managers where he was from.
While the Tribunal found that the fact that he was not hired as a permanent employee had nothing to do with discrimination based on a prohibited ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code, the fact that the manager asked him where he was from breached s. 23 of the Code which preclude employers from asking applicants questions that might directly or indirectly classify them by a prohibited ground of discrimination.
What is curious about this case is the finding that the failure to hire him had nothing to do with a prohibited ground but the mere asking of the question constituted a breach of the Code. In coming to the $1,500 general damages determination, the adjudicator relied on the fact that the applicant in this case believed (erroneously) that the failure to hire him was based on a prohibited ground. His feelings were therefore hurt and he testified that he was deeply upset and his self-respect was injured.
Thankfully this manager did not ask him how he was on that particular day, otherwise we might be dealing with the case where the employer was trying to ascertain whether there was some disability!
If you have any questions about potential issues of human rights discrimination, or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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