Human Rights & Duties


I was fired

These case summaries show examples of the awards the Tribunal has made when a person has suffered injury to their dignity and self-respect because of discrimination. The summaries also show what other awards were made, like compensation for lost wages or other expenses.

McKenna v. Atlas Anchor Systems (No. 2), 2011 BCHRT 60 ($2,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (toe injury)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $4,181.57
Other awards:  $375.53 (expenses)

The discrimination:  Mr. McKenna had a long recovery from a toe injury. This was one factor when his employer fired him.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. McKenna lost confidence in himself. He said that the job loss worsened an ulcer, and caused sleep issues and panic attacks. On the other hand, Mr. McKenna would have lost his job soon anyway. He did not need medication or a doctor’s care.

Hill v. Best Western and another, 2016 BCHRT 92 ($2,500)

Area:                    Employment
Grounds:             Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination:   Fired
Wage loss:          $1,920

The discrimination:   Ms. Hill began work as a housekeeper. Shortly after, she learned she was pregnant. She felt nauseated by the smell of chemicals when cleaning small spaces. She told her employer she wanted to talk to her doctor before doing more training. The employer fired her. She had worked there for three days.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Hill was in a particularly vulnerable position because of her pregnancy.

Effect:  The firing caused Ms. Hill a lot of stress but she did not need medical attention. It caused financial hardship. After her baby was born, Ms. Hill had to apply for temporary assistance for healthcare. She had to borrow money from family and friends.

Hoang v. North-West Produce, 2011 BCHRT 85 ($3,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (injury)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $2,500

The discrimination:  Mr. Hoang worked for North-West Produce for about one and a half years. He was injured at work, and needed to take some time off. Within three days of returning to work, he was fired.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Hoang was not vulnerable.

Effect:  Mr. Hoang was unhappy and disappointed. He worried about supporting his family, but quickly got benefits from workers’ compensation. There was nothing to suggest he became depressed or withdrawn.

Jackson v. Summerland Motel and others, 2016 BCHRT 120 ($3,500)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Marital status
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $499.20

The discrimination:  Ms. Jackson worked at a motel. After just a few weeks at the job, the motel fired her. Part of the reason was because the motel owners thought she was in a marital relationship with someone who was attracting police to the motel. The motel owners also evicted her from her motel room but that was not discrimination.

Vulnerability: Ms. Jackson was a single mother with two toddlers. Her financial situation was bad. She was vulnerable.

Effect: Ms. Jackson did not say how being fired affected her. Losing her job was stressful, but it was not clear whether the stress was because the motel told her to leave or because it fired her. The firing added to her financial stress.

Cartwright v. Rona and another, 2011 BCHRT 65 (Retaliation – $4,000 and employment – $4,000)

Area:                    Employment and retaliation
Grounds:             Physical disability (back injury)
Discrimination:   Fired
Wage loss:          $1,600
Other awards:    $475 (expenses)

The discrimination:  Mr. Cartwright was a young worker. He injured his back and a doctor told him that he might have mild scoliosis. After that, his supervisor fired him because of a risk he might re-injure his back. 

Vulnerability:  Mr. Cartwright was young and had only recently started working. He had no references but was very eager to work. The employer was older and had more authority.

Effect:  When Mr. Cartwright was fired, he could not pay his parents for rent. This caused him humiliation. He worked hard to get all of the doctor’s notes his employer asked for, even though the requests were nonsensical. He was very distressed.  It was hard to find a new job during a recession. However, he was actually quite resilient, which lowered the amount of the award the Tribunal might have otherwise awarded.

Cavanagh v. Sea to Sky Hotel and Mohajer (No. 2), 2010 BCHRT 209 ($4,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Family status (single mother)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $8,125

The discrimination:  Ms. Cavanagh was a single mother. She relocated to Squamish to work in a hotel. After four months, the employer decided she could not work the long and flexible hours they required because of her responsibilities as a parent. The employer offered her part time work in a lower position. Ms. Cavanagh refused, and she was fired. 

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Being fired hurt Ms. Cavanagh’s feelings of self-respect and dignity. It put her in a very hard financial position, and she could not support herself or her child. She went into serious debt. She had to move to Victoria and live with her parents, which also lowered her self-esteem.

Schmidt v. City Furniture, 2010 BCHRT 321 ($4,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (viral pneumonia)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $7,631.05

The discrimination:  Ms. Schmidt worked for City Furniture for about three years. She developed viral pneumonia which made her miss work. She told her employer that she needed more time off work because of her health.  She said that she may need a stress leave.  The employer asked her for more medical information about how long she would be gone. She became very frustrated and was very sick. She said something about not coming back to work. The next day, she dropped off a medical note. The employer then prepared a record of employment that said she had quit for health reasons. This was not true, and amounted to Ms. Schmidt being fired.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Being fired made Ms. Schmidt question her self-esteem. It had a big financial impact on her, and she could not buy Christmas presents for her child.

Davidson v. O’Brien Road and Bridge Maintenance and another, 2013 BCHRT 123 ($4,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $4,800

The discrimination:  Shortly after Mr. Davidson began work for the employer, it sent him home as unfit to work. He had a form of arthritis. The employer wrongly believed that he was unable to perform the work and told him he was “too out of shape to work”.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. Davidson was offended and belittled.

Edwards v. 0720941 BC Ltd. and another (No. 2), 2015 BCHRT 59 ($5,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (shoulder injury)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $0 (not requested)

The discrimination:  Mr. Edwards was a truck driver. He had a shoulder injury. After about six months in his job, Mr. Edwards told his employer he would need some time off for surgery. He was fired because he was going to be unavailable for work.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. Edwards said being fired caused him stress, depression and anxiety. His marriage was affected. He did not get any treatment for those conditions, or do any counselling.

Mackenzie v. Jace Holdings and another (No. 4), 2012 BCHRT 376 ($5,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Mental disability (depression)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $17,616.06

The discrimination:  Ms. Mackenzie worked for Thrifty’s for about eight years. She had depression for most of her life. She was fired two months after returning from a stress leave. The reason for the firing was her behaviour, which was related to her depression.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Ms. Mackenzie was devastated and severely affected by being fired. She cried a lot and had panic attacks.

Mould v. JACE Holdings (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 77 ($5,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (knee replacement)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (unable to work)

The discrimination:  After about ten years at her job, Ms. Mould had her knees replaced. She received long-term disability benefits for about 30 months. When her benefits ended, the employer wrote to her that it seemed unlikely that she would return to work and fired her. Ms. Mould asked about doing office work part-time. Her employer said no. The employer did not reasonably accommodate Ms. Mould’s disability.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Ms. Mould continued to feel hurt by the experience.

McGowan v. Pretty Estates, 2013 BCHRT 40 ($5,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (arm injury)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (no evidence)
Other awards:   $1,808.46 (legal expenses)

The discrimination:  Ms. McGowan hurt her arm at work. A doctor told her to take time off work. The employer fired her.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect: Ms. McGowan did not give evidence about the effect. The Tribunal saw her reaction when she gave evidence about the discrimination.

Small Legs v. Dhillon, 2008 BCHRT 104 ($5,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Race
Discrimination:  Racist comments, fired
Wage loss:         $0 (not requested)

The discrimination:  Ms. Small Legs began work as a hairstylist. After a month, she confronted her employer about her right to minimum wage. The employer screamed at her, called her a “stupid fucking Indian”, and fired her. The employer continued yelling at her and threatened her as she was packing her equipment.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect: Ms. Small Legs said the conduct ruined her self-esteem. She feared getting another job as a hairstylist, even though she had been excited about being one. The conduct and comments were extremely hurtful.  She was still upset by what occurred.

McNair v. International House, 2015 BCHRT 123 ($6,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Age (64)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $11,214

The discrimination:  Age was a factor when the employer fired Mr. McNair.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. McNair felt debased, insulted and badly treated. His work was very meaningful to him. It was more than a job. He enjoyed his work and wanted to continue it.

Mann v. JACE Holdings, 2012 BCHRT 234 ($6,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination:  Harassment and fired
Wage loss:         $6,037.50

The discrimination:   Ms. Mann began work in the bakery of a grocery store. When her employer learned she was pregnant, a supervisor made a comment about Ms. Mann having an abortion. After about five months of employment, she applied for maternity leave. Soon after, her employer fired her.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Mann was pregnant.

Effect:  Ms. Mann was startled and distressed by the comment about abortion. Ms. Mann said the firing made her feel hurt and humiliated. She still cried two years later when she thought about it. It was clear that she continued to feel hurt.

Lee v. Strata Plan 4082, 2012 BCHRT 3 ($6,500)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (hypertension)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $37,913.17

The discrimination:  Mr. Lee worked as a mall manager for two years. He had hypertension. He told his employer about his hypertension and asked for an accommodation in one of his job duties. Two days later, he was fired.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Lee was 63 years old. His age made him vulnerable because it would be hard for him to find new work.

Effect:  Mr. Lee took a lot of pride in his work. Being fired affected his feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. It caused him stress, which made his hypertension worse. His sleep suffered for a long time. This firing came only a month and a half after the employer praised Mr. Lee’s performance. The Tribunal said the employer’s behaviour was “high-handed, disingenuous and ultimately pre-textual”, and that the way he was fired was especially hurtful.

Hunter v. Centanni Tile (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 352 ($6,500)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (already compensated in civil suit)

The discrimination:  Mr. Hunter worked as a sales agent. He was diagnosed with a medical condition that required immediate surgery. He expected to need two months to recover. He told his employer. His employer fired him.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Hunter was in a particularly vulnerable position because he was fired just days after he was told he had a life-threatening condition.

Effect: The firing caused Mr. Hunter a lot of stress. His age and the blunt way the employer fired him added to his distress and humiliation. Being fired reduced his income and was hard financially. At 65 years old, it was also hard for him to get other work.

Bouchard v. Cambie Malone Group and another, 2013 BCHRT 130 ($7,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability
Discrimination: Hours of work cut, fired
Wage loss:        $24,500

The discrimination:  Mr. Bouchard worked full time as a shift supervisor. He became ill and had to be away from work for almost two months. When he tried to go back to work, the employer was concerned that he could not physically do the job. Mr. Bouchard’s doctor said he was fit for work, but the employer still refused to return him to full time hours. The employer cut Mr. Bouchard’s hours so much that he was effectively fired.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. Bouchard felt ashamed and had hurt feelings. He felt there was an injustice. He did not give any specific examples of the impact on him.

Stephenson v. Northern Concord Industry and others, 2011 BCHRT 100 ($7,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Race, colour
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $8,100

The discrimination:  Mr. Stephenson was hired as a kitchen designer.  He was a person of colour. When he was not making enough sales, the employer commented that it would be better to bring in a white person to the showroom to stimulate sales. After that, the employer isolated Mr. Stephenson from the customers and hired a white salesperson. After about four months, he was fired.  

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  The termination “profoundly impacted” Mr. Stephenson. He was very discouraged and beaten down for about one year after he was fired. He had a very hard time finding other work, and struggled financially. He had to use the food bank to feed his family, and his car was repossessed. This undermined his confidence and self-respect.

Smith v. Triack Resources, 2012 BCHRT 294 ($7,500)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (leg and arm)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $0 (no wage loss because received WCB)

The discrimination:  Mr. Smith accidentally hit a stop button on a machine he was operating. He hit the button because of his lower body disability. The employer fired him without asking whether his mistake was related to his disability.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Smith was injured at the time he was fired.

Effect:  Mr. Smith felt devastated. He worried about his reputation. He felt he was being unfairly punished. He was not able to find work for a long time. His wife became the main breadwinner for the family. This made him feel horrible and caused a lot of problems in their marriage.

Flores v. Duso Enterprises and Duso (No. 2), 2008 BCHRT 368 ($7,500)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (gout) and age
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $8,040.80

The discrimination:  Mr. Flores was the oldest man working in the production department of a pasta company. He had acute gout which made him limp in the workplace. He went on a short medical leave. When he came back, a younger, stronger man was working in the department. One day, he was late arriving to work because of traffic. The employer used this as an excuse to fire him. In fact, the Tribunal found that the employer was worried about whether Mr. Flores could physically do his job because of his disability and age.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Mr. Flores’ daughter and wife talked about the changes they saw in Mr. Flores after he was fired. He became withdrawn and depressed. His relationships with his friends and family got worse and he fought with the people close to him. The family suffered financially. When Mr. Flores would apply for a job and not get it, he would become more depressed. He began to drink and smoke more.

LaCouvee v. Alchemy Studios and another, 2013 BCHRT 126 ($7,500)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $3,174.40
Other awards:   $3,637.33 (lost parental benefits)

The discrimination:  Ms. LaCouvee told her employer she was pregnant. She asked for accommodation. Late at night, her employer sent her a text message firing her.

Vulnerability:  Ms. LaCouvee was pregnant.

Effect:  Ms. LaCouvee said that she felt “gutted”, “devastated” and “depressed”. She felt she lost a really good opportunity. The effect was worse because of the way she was fired and because the employer would not answer any of her questions.

McFarlane v. Brown (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 424McFarlane v. Brown (No. 3), 2013 BCHRT 119 ($7,500)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination:  Lay off
Wage loss:         $4,000

The discrimination:   Ms. McFarlane began work as a dog-groomer. About four months later, she told her employer she was pregnant.  The employer laid her off.

Vulnerability:  Ms. McFarlane was six months pregnant when she was laid off.

Effect:  Ms. McFarlane was very upset. She had no real chance to find a new job. She was about to become a single mother with no income. She was depressed because of the lost income and need to move back to her family’s home. There is inherent injury to a woman’s dignity in the message that she will not keep her job simply because she is pregnant.

Buchanan v. WMC Management Services BC Ltd., 2006 BCHRT 339 ($7,500)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Age (59)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $5,141.01

The discrimination:  Age was a factor when the employer fired Ms. Buchanan.

Vulnerability:  None identified.

Effect:  Ms. Buchanan testified that she was a dedicated employee for 30 years. She felt pressured to consider retiring when she felt she was contributing and needed the wages to provide for herself. Her work meant a lot to her. It was more than a job. It was also a social context she did not want to leave. She went into shock and continued to feel extreme humiliation.

Kooner-Rilcof v. BNA Smart Payment Systems and another, 2012 BCHRT 263 ($8,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $3,125

The discrimination:  Ms. Kooner-Rilcof told her employer she was pregnant. It fired her the next day.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Kooner-Rilcof was in a late stage of her pregnancy.

Effect:  The firing caused Ms. Kooner-Rilcof to suffer clinical depression. She had a doctor’s certificate showing this.

Hurn v. Healthquest and others, 2009 BCHRT 435 ($8,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $4,140
Other awards:   $78.81 (expenses)

The discrimination:  Ms. Hurn was fired after working three shifts. She had ongoing back pain that affected her mobility. The employer kept assigning her jobs that made her back pain worse and then criticized her for moving too slowly. The employer publically fired her and, in doing so, accused her of “sitting on her ass”. The employer’s behaviour was “egregious”.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Hurn was particularly vulnerable because she was just re-entering the workforce as a person with a disability.

Effect:  Being fired crushed Ms. Hurn’s feeling of self-worth and made her wonder if she could ever be a contributing member of society again. It made her hyper-vigilant in her new job and caused her a lot of stress. The way that she was fired was humiliating.

Vasil v. Mongovius and another (No. 3), 2009 BCHRT 117 ($10,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Mental disability (including anorexia, dyslexia, post- traumatic stress disorder)
Discrimination:  Terms and conditions of employment, fired
Wage loss:         $18,814.10

The discrimination:   The employer did not keep track of Mr. Vasil’s hours or the cash it paid him. He had trouble keeping track because of his disabilities. The employer took advantage of Mr. Vasil’s limited understanding of his rights and normal workplace practices. It did not pay him for some work, and paid him less than minimum wage. The employer fired Mr. Vasil because of his actions that resulted from his disabilities.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Vasil had significant disabilities.

Effect:  Mr. Vasil had stable and meaningful work for a number of years. His job made him feel valued and secure. The discrimination took that away. He felt cheated by someone he trusted. He felt like he could not work in another job. His earnings were not properly assessed for the purposes of CPP. The discrimination had a profound, long term effect on him.

Bowden v. Yellow Cab and others (No. 2), 2011 BCHRT 14 ($10,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Mental disability
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $14,732

The discrimination:  Mr. Bowden did not attend a board meeting. The employer should have suspected that this was related to his disability. In the weeks before the meeting, Mr. Bowden was erratic. His employer told him not to work until he was fit. He had been off on a medical leave. But the employer did not ask if his absence was related to his medical condition. Instead, it fired him.

At first, the employer did not tell Mr. Bowden it had fired him. Then it told him he quit. It delayed giving him a record of employment, which is needed for employment insurance benefits. Then it told him that the reason was major performance problems.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Bowden had serious mental health issues.

Effect:  The discrimination negatively affected his family life. It had a significant impact on Mr. Bowden.

Morris v. ACL Services, 2012 BCHRT 6 ($10,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical and mental disability (anxiety and depression)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (could not work)
Other awards:   $2,198.43 (medical expenses)

The discrimination:  The employer fired Mr. Morris because he was absent due to a disability.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Morris had a disability. He had no income and could not work.

Effect:  Mr. Morris felt humiliated. He did almost nothing but sleep for long periods of time. His hope was taken away. He lost his benefits coverage and could not buy all his medication. His partner testified that Mr. Morris became withdrawn. He could not help with their children. His partner said that he suffered from hypertension, shortness of breath and panic attacks. The Tribunal considered that the employer had tried to help Mr. Morris much of the time. Some of the stress and anxiety was from his lack of income, which did not result from the discrimination.

Wali v. Jace Holdings, 2012 BCHRT 389 ($10,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Mental disability (depression) and political belief
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        Four weeks’ wages

The discrimination:  Mr. Wali was a pharmacy manager. He asked for less hours and was on medical leave because of a disability. He also spoke out about the regulation of pharmacists. His disability and his political belief were factors in the employer’s decision to fire him.

Vulnerability:  Mr. Wali was suffering from depression when he was fired.

Effect:  The timing and manner of the firing was callous. Mr. Wali was shocked. He did not sleep. He felt anxiety. It affected his family. His humiliation was ongoing. The Tribunal also considered that there were two separate grounds for the discrimination.

Bertrend v. Golder Associates, 2009 BCHRT 274 ($12,500)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Mental disability (depression)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $12,308.69
Other awards:  $2,162.12 (expenses)

The discrimination:  The employer withdrew an offer and fired Ms. Bertrand after she told them she had depression. Her manager made negative comments about her crying in the workplace. Her disability was at least a factor in the withdrawal and firing.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Bertrand had depression.

Effect:  The employer sent the letter firing Ms. Bertrand by courier and by email several times. Ms. Bertrand was devastated when she saw the letters in her email accounts. She said she felt completely alone. She had trouble getting out of bed just to shower. She felt everything had been taken away and that she could not trust authority. She was afraid to be alone and said it was hard not to harm herself. She was sick and had no appetite for about six months. She lost 15 pounds. She was referred to a therapist. She was prescribed medications and saw a counsellor for months. It took a few months to find work, and the loss of income also caused stress. She felt guilty about not working and contributing to her household. She felt hurt, sad, betrayed and mistreated. She was still distraught at the hearing. The discrimination had a lasting and significant impact on her.

Meldrum v. Astro Ventures, 2013 BCHRT 144 ($15,000)

Area:                   Employment     
Grounds:            Sex (pregnancy)
Discrimination:  Fired
Wage loss:         $0 (would have gone on maternity leave or been fired)

The discrimination:  Ms. Meldrum gave her employer a doctor’s note that said she needed time off because of complications from her pregnancy. The employer fired her.

Vulnerability:  When she was fired, Ms. Meldrum was due to deliver her child and was having medical complications.

Effect:  Being fired affected Ms. Meldrum emotionally. It caused stress and uncertainty. She lived where she worked, which made the effect worse. The firing affected her financially. She was in tight financial circumstances. The firing also affected her relationships. Her common law partner said there was stress on their relationship. He said that Ms. Meldrum took the firing very hard.

Vernon v. Howatt Enterprises and Others, 2010 BCHRT 313 ($15,000)

Area:                   Employment
Grounds:            Physical disability (one arm)
Discrimination:  Harassment, fired
Wage loss:         $21,060

The discrimination:  Ms. Vernon had one arm.  Her managers were concerned she would not be able to keep up with her restaurant duties in the busy summer months. They tried to get her to resign by making her job harder. They called her a “one-armed bandit”. The managers reported concerns about Ms. Vernon to their supervisor, who fired Ms. Vernon without questioning the concerns. The employer said they had “cause” for the firing, but the Tribunal found this was made-up.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Vernon was an employee with a disability. She lived in a small community.

Effect:  Ms. Vernon was devastated by the loss of her job. She was hurt by the made-up reasons for firing her. She wondered if she could do anything right. She felt worthless and inadequate. She cried a lot and had trouble sleeping. She was embarrassed and felt unfairly treated. She had to use the food bank and money from her children for support.

Toivanen v. Electronic Arts (Canada) (No. 2), 2006 BCHRT 396 ($20,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical and mental disability (depression and anxiety)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (unable to work)
Other awards:  $6,004.12 (health care costs); $3,300 (legal expenses); $1,000 (expenses from the hearing); $69,230.08 (lost stock options); $19,744 (lost severance pay)

The discrimination:  Ms. Toivanen had good performance evaluations before her behaviour suddenly changed. She cried and was angry. The employer got ready to fire her without looking into the change in behaviour. When Ms. Toivanen gave her employer a doctor’s note explaining her need for a leave of absence, it fired her.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Toivanen was vulnerable as an employee and because of her illness and emotional state at the time.

Effect:  Ms. Toivanen’s career was her life. She was committed to her employer. She gave all her energy to her work, lost touch with friends and family, and slept when she had time off. She kept working after her doctor told her to take time off. Ms. Toivanen was devastated when she received the letter firing her. She said it blew her world apart. At 47, she had to live with her parents. She could not cope on her own. A medical report showed the job loss had a devastating effect on her.

Kalyn v. Vancouver Island Health Authority (No. 3), 2008 BCHRT 377 ($20,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Sex
Discrimination: Disciplined, fired
Wage loss:        Wages for two years and two months
Other awards:   Reinstated to her job; reimbursed for expenses

The discrimination:  The employer saw Ms. Kalyn as a trouble-maker because she raised issues of sex discrimination at work. As a result, it looked more closely at her conduct. It disciplined her more harshly than male employees. The employer was abrupt and unfair when it fired her.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Kalyn became a protection services officer in a male-dominated department.

Effect:  Ms. Kalyn was a 20-year employee with a good work record. She was devastated by the loss of her job. She was in bed for a week. She then got help from a psychiatrist. She needed medication for depression and was slowly getting better. She felt a loss of self-worth about work. She was so ill she felt she failed as a mother and wife. The discrimination caused financial hardship and stress. Ms. Kalyn’s psychiatrist testified that the dismissal caused Ms. Kalyn to have serious mental health problems.

Malin v. Ultra Care and another (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 158 ($20,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (HIV positive)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $6,877.29

The discrimination:  While he was on a leave for other reasons, the employer learned that Mr. Malin was HIV positive. After the medical leave, the employer gave him only one day of work. His HIV status was at least part of the reason the employer did not give him work.

Vulnerability:  Employees are vulnerable. People with HIV face many barriers, mainly based on prejudice and ignorance.

Effect:  Mr. Malin had worked for the employer for over four years. He lost the steadiest job he ever had. He felt hurt, stigmatized, and overwhelmed. He suffered depression and irritable bowel syndrome. He was not able to rent an apartment and had to leave the community where he had lived for ten years.

Datt v. McDonald’s Restaurants (No. 3), 2007 BCHRT 324 ($25,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical disability (skin condition)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $23, 078.09
Other awards:   about $2,200 (lost benefits)

The discrimination:  Ms. Datt’s employer fired her because of a skin condition, without taking reasonable steps to keep Ms. Datt employed. She was willing to do any duties that would allow her to keep her job. The employer did not investigate any jobs that might have been available. After 23 years of employment, someone Ms. Datt barely knew told her she was losing her job.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Datt was vulnerable as an employee.

Effect:  Ms. Datt loved her job. It was her life. Her performance was very good and she did work for the employer for which she was not paid or recognized. She planned to stay with employer until she retired. She had an excellent relationship with her co-workers and the customers, who were like family. She missed them and was very depressed due to her job loss. She still woke up thinking about her job. Losing her job also created a lot of financial and emotional stress at home. She was denied EI and could not find work for almost a year. The financial stress created great difficulties within her marriage.  Ms. Datt’s daughter testified about the changes she saw in her mother, and the serious effect the job loss had on the family. Overall, Ms. Datt was no longer the same. She had trouble recovering. She seemed lost and kept returning to the restaurant to see old customers.

Ford v. Peak Products Manufacturing and another (No. 3), 2010 BCHRT 155 ($25,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Mental disability (anxiety and depression)
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $11,781.97
Other awards:   $5,043.72 (expenses)

The discrimination:   Ms. Ford was fired because she was absent due to mental disability. She could not work and was referred to a psychiatrist. Her employer did not tell her that she might lose her job. She did not expect it at all.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Ford was particularly vulnerable because of her disability.

Effect:  Ms. Ford was not a long term employee, but the discrimination had a significant negative effect on her. She and others testified about the effect on her. The discrimination made her illness worse. Within two days she had thoughts of suicide, which she had not had for a long time.

Senyk v. WFG Agency Network (No. 2), 2008 BCHRT 376 ($35,000)

Area:                  Employment
Grounds:           Physical and mental disability
Discrimination: Fired
Wage loss:        $0 (unable to work)

The discrimination:  The employer fired Ms. Senyk. It gave her no notice that her job was at risk. It did not ask whether she was or would be able to return to work within a reasonable period of time. The employer fired her in an email. This was a callous act that had significant effects on Ms. Senyk.

Vulnerability:  Ms. Senyk had faced traumatic events in her life. By working hard, she became a successful businesswoman. She was associated with her employer and its predecessor for about 34 years. Her work was her life and she hoped to return to work.

Effect:  When she was fired, Ms. Senyk was distraught, and phoned her husband and psychiatrist for help. She felt her health go to “ground zero” and she had to start all over again. She was devastated by the news. It had a continuing, serious, negative effect on her. The discrimination made her depression, anxiety and likely her drinking problem worse. A psychiatrist gave evidence about the traumatic effect the discrimination had.

Dunkley v. UBC and another, 2015 BCHRT 100 ($35,000)

Area:                  Employment and Services
Grounds:           Physical disability (Deafness)
Discrimination: Removed from medical residency program
Wage loss:        about 8.5 months
Other awards:  $500 (conference expenses); UBC fees; application fees for master’s program; cost of licence and insurance

The discrimination:   Dr. Dunkley was in a medical residency program at UBC. As part of the program, she worked for a health care provider. Dr. Dunkley is Deaf. She needed sign language interpretation. UBC and her employer decided that interpreters cost too much. They removed her from the program.

Vulnerability:  After medical school, a doctor must complete a residency program to work as a doctor. When Dr. Dunkley began the program at UBC, that was the only program open to her. She needed interpreters to participate. She was in a very vulnerable position. When UBC and her employer removed her from the program, she was powerless with regard to achieving her career goals.

Effect:  Being a doctor was Dr. Dunkley’s “calling”. The discrimination derailed her residency. It risked derailing her career. It deprived her of work and income. She testified that she was traumatized when she was told she could not continue in the program, and that she went into a depression.

Note: This case was upheld by the BC Supreme Court in Providence Health Care v. Dunkley, 2016 BCSC 1383.

Kelly v. University of British Columbia (No. 4), 2013 BCHRT 302 ($75,000)

Area:                  Employment and Services
Grounds:           Mental disability (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Non-Verbal Learning Disability)      
Discrimination: Removed from medical residency program
Wage loss:        $385,195.70
Other awards:   $12,387 (expert reports); $1170 (tuition); $900 (wage loss for hearing)

The discrimination:   Dr. Kelly was in a medical residency program at UBC. UBC took some steps to accommodate his disabilities, but then removed him from the program without taking all reasonable steps. As a result, Dr. Kelly lost his job as a medical resident.

Vulnerability:  Dr. Kelly was in a vulnerable position. He was a student and a resident with mental disabilities. He complied with UBC’s requests for medical information. He was dependent on UBC to accommodate his disabilities so that he could complete the program.

Effect:  Dr. Kelly wanted to be a doctor for most of his life. He spent a lot of time and resources working toward this goal. He lost the chance to complete the program, and to practice as a doctor. He restarted the program after the Tribunal’s decision, but this was about six years later. The discrimination had a serious effect on him, especially in the context of his family dynamics. He felt deep humiliation and embarrassment. He had symptoms of depression. He lacked interest in life. He had trouble sleeping and other health problems. He felt worthless, despair, and uncertain about his future. He thought about “ending it”. He was embarrassed looking for other work when he had a medical degree. He lost his income. He had to move home with his parents. He isolated himself socially. His relationships were strained.

Note: This case was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal in University of British Columbia v. Kelly, 2016 BCCA 271