Home Featured B.C. tribunal finds no evidence in disability, sex discrimination claim against Milieu Family Services

B.C. tribunal finds no evidence in disability, sex discrimination claim against Milieu Family Services

by HR Law Canada

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint from a worker who alleged that her former employer discriminated against her based on physical and mental disabilities and sex, claiming that the company canceled her promotion due to her disability, harassed her in the workplace, and failed to respond appropriately to her complaints of sexual harassment.

The Tribunal, though, found no reasonable prospect of success for her claims.

R.J., who began working for Milieu Family Services in 2018, argued that she was offered a manager position in early 2019, which was subsequently canceled after she took a sick day due to injuries from a previous motor vehicle accident. She also alleged ongoing workplace harassment that exacerbated her mental health issues and claimed she was subjected to sex-based discrimination when she was assigned more cooking and cleaning duties than her male colleagues.

Milieu denied all allegations, asserting that R.J. was never officially promoted and that her performance issues and workplace complaints were handled appropriately. The company also claimed that the duties assigned to her were part of standard workplace expectations applicable to all employees.

In dismissing the complaint, the Tribunal pointed to a lack of evidence connecting R.J.’s alleged mistreatment to her physical or mental disabilities or her sex.

“There is no evidence before me that Milieu knew (her) sick day on April 10, 2019, was related to injuries from her motor vehicle accident in 2018,” the Tribunal stated in her decision. Furthermore, regarding R.J.’s mental health claims, the Tribunal noted, “There is no evidence before me that Milieu knew (she) had a mental disability, or that anyone at Milieu perceived that she had a mental disability, before she stopped working for Milieu.”

On the issue of sex-based discrimination, the Tribunal found insufficient evidence to support R.J.’s claims that she was required to perform more cooking and cleaning duties than her male counterparts. The evidence presented suggested that all staff were expected to contribute equally to these tasks and to provide photographic evidence of their completion.

Key takeaways

  1. Evidence and documentation: Claims of discrimination and harassment must be substantiated with clear evidence showing a direct connection between the alleged adverse actions and the complainant’s protected characteristics.
  2. Employer’s awareness and response: Employers must be aware of their employees’ disclosed disabilities and respond appropriately. In this case, the lack of evidence that Milieu knew about Jagpal’s mental health condition played a critical role in the dismissal of the complaint.
  3. Equal treatment and policy enforcement: Employers should ensure that workplace policies are applied consistently across all employees. The Tribunal’s decision highlighted the importance of clear and equitable enforcement of job duties and performance expectations.

This ruling underscores the necessity for both employees and employers to maintain comprehensive records and evidence when addressing workplace discrimination and harassment complaints.

For more information, see Jagpal v. Milieu Family Services Inc., 2024 BCHRT 131 (CanLII).

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