There are multiple grounds upon which employees and prospective employees assert complaints of discrimination in employment. While these claims mostly arise during the course of – or at the conclusion of – the employment relationship, they can also arise during the hiring process. A man in a BC community recently asserted that he was discriminated against on the basis of a mental disability when he applied and interviewed for a chief administrative officer position in that community.
The man applied for the job with the village while on an extended leave of absence from his city manager position with another community. In securing that leave he claimed he:
- Had trouble concentrating
- Was irritable
- Was in a constant depressed state of mind
Shortly after he commenced that leave of absence the man applied for the position with the Village of Anmore. Though he was interviewed for the desired position twice, ultimately it was given to a candidate who was already employed by the village. This prompted a human rights complaint.
The BC Human Rights Tribunal recently ruled on the matter. The tribunal determined that the concerns the council had regarding the man’s health while making the hiring decision were taken into account, but that the references to those concerns ultimately did not constitute adequate evidence that the village perceived the man to be suffering from a mental disability. Accordingly, in hiring another candidate, the village did not discriminate against the man.
Human rights issues in the employment context are often nuanced both factually and in the legal analysis of the complaint. Seeking advice and representation from a lawyer well-versed in human rights issues can be invaluable to both employers and employees.