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

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

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak hits first Greater Victoria hospital

Island Health declares outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by former Saanich resident surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Athletes with Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s open men’s staff head out on a high-tech outrigger canoe. The club raised more than $16,500 at its 2020 Wetdasche event. (Courtesy of Fairway Gorge Paddling Club)
Victoria paddling group breaks fundraising record

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s 2020 Wetdashe event raises more than $16,500

Greater Victoria 4-H club member Sava Bell is all smiles holding some of the garden fresh ingredients he used to make his award-winning dish for the Field to Fork Challenge. (Courtesy Agriculture in the Classroom)
Greater Victoria 4-H members among winners in provincewide cooking competition

Field to Fork Challenge encourages B.C. youth to prepare healthy, local foods

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read