Human Rights code stipulates that every individual is entitled to equal treatment regarding employment devoid of harassment or discrimination because of their disability status, gender, ethnic origin, colour, ancestry or race. The two cases of Zhou v. Copper Mountain Mine and Gebresadik v. Black Top Cabs handled before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal describe different forms of discrimination in employment.
Zhou v. Copper Mountain Miner
Summary of the Case
It dates back to 24th January 2017 between Zhou, the complainant, and Copper Mountain Mine Limited, his employer and respondent in the cases presented before British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, entitled Zhou v. Copper Mountain Mine, 2017 BCHRT 22 CITATION Emi17 \l 1033 (Ohler, 2017). Mr Zhou, a Sample Prep Technician, was the complainant who accused the employer, Copper Mountain Miner Limited of discriminating him because of his colour, ancestry and race as he belongs to Chinese ethnic group. According to the complainant, unfair treatment in the form of underpayment was contrary to Section 13 of British Columbias Human Rights Code which prohibits discrimination in workplace basing on particular protected worker characteristics such as race, ancestry and colour. The complainant believed that his colour, descent and race is the reason for underpayment and eventually termination. According to the defendant, the issue of underpaying and terminating Mr Zhou from employment follows problems ranging from disagreement and confrontation with the supervisor over the safety policy that requires the transportation of cylinders to occur through pulling the dolly and not pushing it as Mr Zhou did CITATION Emi17 \l 1033 (Ohler, 2017). Other issues that the complainant cite to be the cause of employment termination include Mr Zhou going against the requirement that no lab coats should be worn outside the lab to avoid contamination, lateness and failure to follow instructions which made him defiant, conduct which affected teamwork.
The Tribunal decision was that the Mr Zhou, the complainant, lacked sufficient evidence that would compel the Tribunal to draw inferences that his ancestry, colour or race was the prime factor for discrimination and alleged mistreatment by the defendant. On the other hand, the defendant, Copper Mountain Mine Limited, put compelling reasons that explain its conduct and action against Mr Zhou. Copper Mountain Limited was justified for terminating Mr Zhou from employment because of four main reasons namely the complainants reluctance to espouse corrective measure, repeated insubordination, infractions of critical protocols and policies and failure to satisfy the set performance criteria. Therefore, the Tribunal discovered that the defendants conduct was non-discriminatory. Due to the details set in the case, the Tribunal used Section 27(1) (c) of British Columbias Human Rights Code (2017) to obtain the reasons to dismiss the complaint.
Despite Mr Zhou not winning the case, the form of discrimination that his complaint demonstrate is right type because his justification showed that his employer subjected him to unfair treatment and unequal pay because he was a Chinese. Concepts presented include unequal pay and hostile environment evident from Mr Zhous misunderstanding and lack of cooperation with the supervisor which led to his view that he was unwanted because of his ancestry and race.
Employers Lessons from the Case
Such a decision teachers employers to be vigilant in the way they handle employees. Despite invalidation of Mr Zhous claims, it is important for other employers to learn that any decision to terminate workers from employment should leave no reasonable prospect that would lead to the judicial court establishing incidents and reasons that connect the action to terminate them from work with their ancestry, colour or race. The broad lesson from the case is that disciplining and correcting employees flaws should not portray any form of racial discrimination to avoid lawsuits.
Gebresadik v. Black Top Cabs
Summary of the case
The case is between Laeke Gebresadik, the complainant, and Black Top Cabs Limited, the respondent. The hearing of the case was dated 30th October, 31st October and 16th November 2017 in which Gebresadik complained of discrimination in his place of work, Black Tops Cabs Limited, where he had been working since 2011 CITATION Tys17 \l 1033 (Tyshynski, 2017). The complainant alleged that he was Black Tops action of yelling and suspending him from work was because of his disability, an act that conflicted Section 13 of British Columbias Human Rights Code CITATION Hum17 \l 1033 (Human Rights Code, 2017). The details of the issues that led to the complainant tabling the case before the Tribunal is that after the occurrence of an accident while Gebresadik was on duty, he sustained severe injuries which contributed to his physical disability prevented him from helping the injured passengers. His refusal to assist in carrying the wounded passengers using wheelchairs was contrary to Black Tops policy stipulating that company taxi drivers should assist in picking up injured or disabled customers. The justification for the refusal to comply with the rule is that Gebresadik had a medical directive restricting him to pull, push or lift weights that exceed 10 pounds CITATION Tys17 \l 1033 (Tyshynski, 2017). Gebresadik presented the medical certificate to his employer, Black Top Cabs.
Black Top Cabs Limiteds in its response sought dismissal of the case on two grounds. First, the company alleged that Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code (2017) was not applicable because Mr Gebresadik was working an independent contractor thus there was no employment relationship existing between it and the complainant. Secondly, the Black Tops asserted that Mr Gebresadik did not establish a discrimination complaint and his disability would not amount to be a key reason for the adverse impact of the accident. In one of Black Tops submissions, the complainant unjustified on the allegation that his physical disability was the basis of discrimination. It is because the capacity of a taxi driver to conduct wheelchair trips for injured passengers followed the Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (BFOR) and Passenger Transport Board (PTB) policies necessitating accordance of priority service to wheelchair users.
The Tribunal decided that Mr Gebresadiks complain justified and that he was in an active employment relationship with the taxi company as stipulated in Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code. Therefore, discrimination of Mr Gebresadik was because of his physical disability. The rationale for the Tribunal decision is two way. First, there was determination beyond doubt that there was an existing employment relationship between Black Tops Cabs Limited and the complainant, who fall into the classification of drivers with a lease agreement with Black Tops whereby Mr Gebresadik paid a monthly fee of $1,500 as lease agreement CITATION Tys17 \l 1033 (Tyshynski, 2017). The Codes definition of employment strengthens their employment relationship as the code define employment to include association where an individual takes part in a substantial section of services or related affairs belonging to the master or employer. Secondly, the respondents conduct was such that the complainants disability was the basis of unfair treatment. Furthermore, Black Tops decision and conducted had an adverse impact on Mr Gebresadik. The reasons above and the provisions of Section 37 of the Code and Court Order Interest Act led to the Tribunal directing the respondent to pay the complainant wage loss of $$7,781.03; expense incurred worth $200 and $15,000. The fines catered for meddling with Mr Gebresadiks self-respect, feeling and dignity CITATION Tys17 \l 1033 (Tyshynski, 2017).
The type of discrimination that the case present is indirect because of the existence of an employment policy regarding the handling of passengers, which places individuals with protected characteristics such as Mr Gebresadiks physical disability at a disadvantage. The concept of BFOR is presented in the case as the primary defence point that the respondent was using to expound that the policy of handing passengers using wheelchairs covered Mr Gebresadik despite his physical incapacity.
Employers Lessons from the Case
Employers can borrow a lot from the discrimination in employment case which led to the respondent, Black Top Cabs Limited incurring fines. Any employer working in the same field, taxi business, as Black Tops should stop any action or conduct that contravenes Section 13 of the Code. Avoiding penalties accruing from the employment discrimination actions that are contrary to Section 13 of BC Human Rights Code requires employers to implement human rights processes and policies that include respecting and considering workers with disabilities CITATION Hum17 \l 1033 (Human Rights Code, 2017). It is also necessary to ensure that works and shareholders understand the processes and policies. Employers should also draw a lesson from the case and institute working standards that accommodate employees with disabilities such as those with similar trait with the Mr Gebresadik, the claimant, to ensure that in case of occurrence of comparable incidences, they do not suffer hardship that Black Tops underwent.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Human Rights Code. (2017). Retrieved from British Columbia Laws: http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_96210_01#section13
Ohler, E. (2017, January 24). Zhou v. Copper Mountain Mine, 2017 BCHRT 22 (CanLII). Retrieved from Canadian Legal Information Institute: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bchrt/doc/2017/2017bchrt22/2017bchrt22.html
Tyshynski, M. (2017, December 28). Gebresadik v. Black Top Cabs, 2017 BCHRT 278 (CanLII). Retrieved from Canadian Legal Information Institute: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bchrt/doc/2017/2017bchrt278/2017bchrt278.html
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