The Employee filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“Tribunal”) alleging discrimination on the basis of disability on account of being terminated after he disclosed to his employer that he suffered from bipolar disorder. The Employee’s employment was terminated 8 days after he commenced his job.
A few days after the Employee commenced employment with ADGA, he informed his supervisor that he suffered from bipolar disorder and requested accommodation which included a request that he be monitored for pre-manic signs, that his wife and/or doctor be notified of any indicators, and that he be allowed time off work to avert a situation where he may move from a pre-manic state to full blown mania. The Employee testified that his supervisor was not forthcoming, gave no assurances and told him she would get back to him. Her response to his request for accommodation left him feeling anxious and uncomfortable causing him to experience pre-manic symptoms. The Employee was called to a meeting 4 days later and his employment was terminated triggering full blown mania and resulting in him being hospitalized for 12 days with severe depression. The Employee’s financial situation deteriorated, he had to sell his house and his marriage ended.
The Tribunal found that the Employee had been terminated because of his disability and perceptions of that disability on his workplace performance. The Employer’s position was that the Employee was dishonest regarding his disability during the hiring process and misrepresented his ability to perform the job for which he was hired. The Tribunal confirmed that the Employee was under no obligation to disclose his medical condition during the hiring process. The Employer failed in its procedural duty to accommodate the Employee which would have required:
“those responsible to conduct an appropriate assessment of the situation to enable them to reach an informed conclusion that they could not accommodate Mr. Lane’s disability without “undue hardship”“.
The Tribunal also found that the Employer’s termination of the Employee’s employment was “callous” to the extent that nothing was done on the day of termination to ensure that the Employee in his pre-manic condition reached his home safely and sought medical attention.
The Tribunal awarded inter alia, to the Employee:
- $35,000 in damages for the violation of his right to be free from discrimination;
- $10,000 in damages for the reckless infliction of mental anguish;
- $34,278.75 in special damages for lost wages
- Various Public Interest Remedies
The monetary awards of the Tribunal were upheld on appeal by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court). The Court did strike out one of the public interest remedies and revised one of the other public interest remedies. See: ADGA Group Consultants Inc. v. Lane, 2008 CanLII 39605 (ON SCDC)