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Human Rights Office

Emra v. Impression Bridal Ltd. 2014 HRTO 1736 (CanLII)

Summary:

Kujtim Emra worked for Impression Bridal Ltd. from November 8, 2010 till February 15, 2013 as the accounts receivable manager. Ms. Yue is the manager of the Canadian operation and was the applicant’s supervisor at the time of the incident. The applicant self-identifies as a person living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. When he first began working at Impression Bridal Ltd. he did not disclose his disability and did not discuss accommodation options. After a short period of absenteeism directly related to his disability, Mr. Emra was terminated. At the time of termination when Mr. Emra disclosed and explained his disabilities, Ms. Yue suggested that she thought Mr. Emra also had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  During his termination meeting with Ms. Yue, Mr. Emra indicated that he did not want to be terminated and that the job was important for both him and his family. In response to this statement, Ms. Yue reaffirmed her decision to terminate Mr. Emra and asked that he would stay on till the end of the week in order to pass information on to other staff. In recognition of staying on till the end of the week, Mr. Emra would be provided with two week’s pay and a positive reference letter. After being terminated Mr. Emra made contact with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).   Mr. Emra was advised by the HRLSC to write a letter to Ms Yue, describing how he felt and referencing the Code and accommodation. Mr. Emra sent the letter to Ms. Yue’s private e-mail account the following day and shortly after receiving this e-mail was called in to see Ms. Yue. During this conversation Ms. Yue indicated that nothing could be done to change the decision, Mr. Emra was being terminated as of the end of the week.

Question(s) to be Determined:

  1. Did the respondent, Impression Bridal Ltd. discriminate against the applicant on the basis of disability and perceived disability?

Findings:

  1. Did the respondent, Impression Bridal Ltd. discriminate against the applicant on the basis of disability and perceived disability?

YES

Reasoning:

  1. Did the respondent, Impression Bridal Ltd. discriminate against the applicant on the basis of disability and perceived disability?

In this case it was found that even after the applicant disclosed his disabilities no effort was made to accommodate him other than to ask the applicant if he wanted to quit his job. It also became clear during the course of the hearing that Ms. Yue had no understanding of her obligations under the Code in relation to accommodation and disability. In this case, evidence was also provided that indicated that mistakes made by Mr. Emra during the course of his employment were minor and that Mr. Emra had never received any form of formal discipline related to his performance at work. Any comments about his work or absenteeism were informal, verbal and undocumented. Based on this information and the lack of perceived credibility of Ms. Yue’s version of events, it was found that Impression Bridal Ltd. did discriminate against the applicant on the basis of disability and perceived disability.

Remedies:

The Tribunal orders the following:

1. The respondents shall pay the applicant $25,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect arising from the infringement of his rights under the Code;

2. The respondents shall pay to the applicant a sum for lost wages (bi-weekly rate of $1280.00 calculated over one full year for a total of $33,280.00);

3. The respondent shall pay prejudgment and post-judgment interest in accordance with paragraphs 107 to 110 of this Decision.

4. Within 120 days from the date of this Decision, the respondent shall confirm to the applicant in writing that it has retained a human rights expert of its choosing who has;

(i) developed new human rights policies, and that a copy of the human rights policies has been distributed to all of its employees; and

(ii) trained all of its employees with respect to the new human rights policy, the Code and the duty to accommodate.