Human Rights Office

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Human Rights Office

Qureshi v. G4S Security Services, 2009 HRTO 409 (CanLII)

Summary:

Mr. Qureshi applied to be a security guard with G4S Security Services (Canada) Ltd. The recruitment process for security guards consisted of multiple stages including, the filling out of an application information sheet, a math test, an interview, mandatory two day training and a final examination. After successfully completing the application information sheet, the math test, the interview and day one of the mandatory training Mr. Qureshi informed G4S Security Services that he would need to leave the second day of training for about one hour in order to pray. Mr. Qureshi is an active practitioner of the Muslim faith. Upon asking for this time off, Ms. Curtis asked whether Mr. Qureshi would need to have time off on all Friday afternoons in order to pray. Mr. Qureshi indicated that yes, he would need this time. At this point Ms. Curtis told Mr. Qureshi he could leave, telling him that G4S Security Services couldn’t go forward with his application. In addition Ms. Curtis said something to the effect of “God would be very understanding that he had to work.” At this point in time Mr. Qureshi was withdrawn from the security guard recruitment process. He was never hired as a security guard with G4S Security Services. In this case it was found that G4S Security Services (Canada) Ltd. and Michelle Curtis, discriminated against Mr. Qureshi on the basis of creed contrary to sections 5(1) and 9 of the Code.

Question(s) to be Determined:

1.    Did the respondents, G4S Security Services (Canada) Ltd. and Michelle Curtis, discriminate against Mr. Qureshi on the basis of creed contrary to sections 5(1) and 9 of the Code?

Findings:

1.    Did the respondents, G4S Security Services (Canada) Ltd. and Michelle Curtis, discriminate against Mr. Qureshi on the basis of creed contrary to sections 5(1) and 9 of the Code?

YES

Reasoning:

1.    In this case there was a clear link established between Mr. Qureshi’s request for time off to pray and his exclusion from the hiring process. “As soon as the applicant advised the respondents of his need for time off on Friday afternoons in order to pray, the respondents rejected him from their recruitment process and refused to give any further consideration to his application for employment. As such, the necessary causal link between the respondents’ actions and the discriminatory effect experienced by the applicant has been established” (para 23).



It was further noted that G4S Security Services failed to consider forms of accommodation in relation to Mr. Qureshi’s creed. “Although the respondents’ evidence confirmed that job applicants who fail the first written examination are given the opportunity for a rewrite and, if necessary, re-attendance at the second day of training and a further re-write, no such opportunity was afforded the applicant. The evidence also confirmed the swapping of shifts between employees does occur, with management approval, and it is reasonable to conclude that shift swaps from either the morning or midnight shifts to the afternoon shift (which is when the applicant would need time off for prayers) would not be difficult to arrange. The respondent also agreed that transfers of employees to other sites and other shifts occur from time to time. The respondents did not advance any explanation at the hearing why similar opportunities were not considered as a means of accommodation of the applicant’s creed” (para 31).

Remedies:

In this case damages were awarded for lost income and infringements of the Code, including compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect. In addition a public interest remedy was awarded.

(a)    pay $2520 for lost wages;



(b) pay $5000 for loss arising out of the infringement of the Code,

including compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect;



(c) pay pre-judgement interest (calculated from the date of the

Application) and post-judgement interest (calculated from 30 days from

the date of this Decision) in accordance with the Courts of Justice Act

R.S.O. 1990, chapter c.43, sections 128 and 129 on these amounts;



(d) amend (with the assistance of a consultant or lawyer with expertise

in human rights and accommodation) the equal opportunities policy so as

to address the accommodation of persons on the basis of the prohibited

grounds under the Code, which is to include the process that the company

will follow in order to address requests for accommodation from such

persons, and to disseminate such policy in the manner described in

paragraph 52 to all Ontario employees, by no later than September 30,

2009; and



(e) engage a consultant or lawyer with expertise in human rights and

accommodation to train all Human Resources personnel employed by the

company with respect to accommodation, including the procedure and

processes that will be utilized by the company in order to address such

requests, by no later than December 31, 2009.