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BC Human Rights Tribunal

"B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Changes – Will They Be Enough?"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The Business Council of British Columbia has published an article entitled, "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Changes – Will They Be Enough?" (September 2011) in its Human Capital Law and Policy publication.

The article was co-written by Thomas Roper, Q.C. and Jennifer Russell of the law firm Roper Greyell.

Among other issues, it addresses the "growing dissatisfaction within some segments of the employer community regarding the work of the [BC Human Rights] Tribunal" and the study undertaken last year by the British Columbia Law Institute, at the behest of the BC Ministry of Labour, of the merits of establishing a Workplace Tribunal for British Columbia that would adjudicate all employment related disputes. 

No free-standing duty to treat employee “fairly and with due respect for dignity" during accommodation process

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

In Emergency Health Services Commission v. Cassidy, 2011 BCSC 100, the BC Supreme Court ruled that there was no free-standing procedural obligation on an employer to treat an employee “fairly, and with due respect for his dignity" during the duty to accommodate process, the failure of which could ground an award of damages.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal had previously ruled in this case that while accommodating the employee's physical disability would have represented an undue hardship to the employer, the employer was still liable for damages to the employee for failing to treat him fairly and with due respect for his dignity during the duty to accommodate process.

The damages awarded by the Tribunal included an award of $22,500 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect. 

The Tribunal's decisions can be found here:  read more »

Terminated employee ordered to pay UBC $5,000 in costs due to improper conduct during human rights proceeding

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In Wells v. UBC and others (No. 5), 2011 BCHRT 176, an employee terminated by the University of British Columbia ("UBC") for benefits fraud was ordered by the BC Human Rights Tribunal to pay UBC $5,000 in costs as a result of her improper conduct during a human rights proceeding.

The order was made pursuant to section 37(4) of the BC Human Rights Code.

The improper conduct in question was misrepresentations she had made to the Tribunal regarding why she had delayed in filing her late complaint.

A story in The Province about this decision can be found here: "Fired worker must cover $5g in costs" (July 8, 2011).

BC Law Institute to research meaning of “Family Status” under BC Human Rights Code

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Law Institute has recently announced that it has commenced a project to research the meaning of “Family Status” under the BC Human Rights Code.

The Overview of the "BC Family Status Legal Research Project" found on the BCLI website states as follows:  read more »