Shirley Jensen worked as a cook in a restaurant and earned $ 10.25 per hour. She had fibromyalgia. To manage pain, she attended a pain clinic twice a week. From time to time, she also needed to obtain major treatments which required two days off work. These days changed when the medical facility changed its days of operation. The employer refused to permit her to change her days off and fired her. Ms. Jensen secured another job 15 weeks later.
Ms. Jensen filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (the Tribunal) claiming she was discriminated against on the basis of her disability. She represented herself at the hearing.
The Tribunal ordered the two owners of the restaurant to pay Ms. Jensen 15 weeks pay or $ 7,380. Even though she did not ask for compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect, the Tribunal ordered the employer to pay Ms. Jensen an additional $ 15, 000 in general damages.
For more information on the Ontario Human Rights Code, click here
Lessons to be learned
1. An employer must grant unpaid time off work to an employee to attend required medical appointments if the employee cannot schedule appointments outside her regular hours of work.
2. An employee can bring no cost legal proceedings against an employer under the Human Rights Code.
3. An employee can represent herself at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
4. Adjudicators at the Tribunal will order an employer to pay an employee damages for the injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect even if the employee does not ask for these damages.
5. A minimum wage employee with relatively short service can be awarded significant damages under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
For the past 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship. If you have any questions, you can contact him at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]
A recent case underscores the importance of including a properly drafted termination clause in your organization’s employment contract. The Facts In March 2010, CIGI hired Mark Menard, a chartered accountant, as Senior Director of Finance. He was responsible for the...read more
If you are a director or a party to a unanimous shareholder agreement did you know that you are personally liable for unpaid wages and you could go to jail for up to one year for failing to pay them? So if you are a small business owner, have signed a unanimous...read more
Some recent changes in the law make Ontario’s employment laws more employer-friendly - especially for small businesses. This blog discusses five of these changes. Eliminating a scheduled increase in the minimum wage Under Bill 148, the minimum wage was scheduled to...read more