A Sooke resident’s human rights was complaint partially upheld after she claimed discrimination on the grounds of mental disability. (File)

Sooke woman claims she faced discrimination from employer after mental health diagnosis

Actions by Thrifty Foods management called into question by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

A Sooke woman who claims she faced discrimination as a result of a mental disability has taken her complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

According to a summary recently posted on the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal website, the Sooke resident says she was unfairly treated by her employer, Thrifty Foods.

Thrifty Foods denies the allegations.

The woman worked at Thrifty’s for six years before taking a medical leave of absence in June 2016 after a visit to her doctor resulted in a mental disability diagnosis, according to tribunal documents.

RELATED: Nanaimo CAO files complaint

The leave lasted 2½ months, but on her return to work she was demoted. Other actions by her employer, she said, gave her little choice but to resign her position in September 2016.

In her complaint to the tribunal, the employee alleged her treatment was linked to Thrifty Foods’ staff’s perception of her as a person with a mental disability.

The tribunal’s decision did not provide the Sooke resident with the condemnation of Thrifty Foods that she’d sought, but also stopped short of completely exonerating the company.

Although the decision did dismiss the charge against the company and a human resource staff member named in the action, their actions were criticized by tribunal member Pamela Murray.

“Unilaterally removing an employee’s duties on the day they return from a medical leave would usually need to be part of an agreed return-to-work plan or [be] reasonably necessary before it could be found to be non‐discriminatory. It is not, in any event, in my view part of ‘managing the employment relationship’ for an employer to remove job duties in the manner alleged in the materials,” Murray wrote.

Although the management style of the company was drawn into question by Murray’s comments, the charge of a human rights violation was not upheld against Thrifty Foods.

The same was not true for a supervisor named in the action.

He was characterized as the “directing mind” of the alleged discrimination and the tribunal held that the complaint against that supervisor could proceed to a future hearing to resolve the case.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial body created by the B.C. Human Rights Code. It is responsible for accepting, mediating, and adjudicating human rights complaints and, although the Tribunal offers the parties to a complaint the opportunity to try to resolve the complaint through mediation, should that effort fail the complaint moves on to the hearing stage.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

Victoria Clipper suspends services through April 2021

International travel restrictions, COVID-19 uncertainty lead to decision

Who is the average Sookie?

Statistics Canada, community members offer glimpse into who the people of Sooke are

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Most Read