Monday, June 30, 2014

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered a company owned by a Law Society of Upper Canada paralegal bencher to pay almost $13,000 in a discrimination case.

HRTO adjudicator Douglas Sanderson found POINTTS Advisory Ltd., a company owned by LSUC paralegal bencher Brian Lawrie, had terminated an employee partly due to her disability and had failed to accommodate her.

“The respondent refused to allow the applicant to return to work because of her disability, repeatedly breached its obligation to accommodate her and terminated her employment, in part, because of her disability,” wrote Sanderson in Schildt v. POINTTS Advisory Ltd. on June 25.

“I find that the respondent’s actions caused the [applicant] humiliation and were an affront to her dignity and self-respect. In my view, damages of $10,000 are appropriate compensation in the circumstances of this case.”

The tribunal accepted Lawrie’s evidence that he had planned on terminating the applicant even before she suffered an injury at work but still decided her disability was part of the decision to let her go.

While it removed Lawrie as an individual respondent, the tribunal found the circumstances indicated senior management — “Mr. Lawrie in particular” — lacked an appreciation of their obligations under the Human Rights Code. Sanderson also said the respondent would benefit from human rights training and a workplace human rights policy. As for a monetary remedy, it ordered the company to pay $10,000 for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect and almost $2,885 for lost employment income.

Sanderson, however, dismissed aspects of the employee’s human rights complaint, including an allegation that the company fired her due to the financial implications of the costs of her fertility drugs on its benefits program. The tribunal found she had no basis to make those allegations.

Superior Court Justice Barry Matheson has died at the age of 74.

Matheson, who joined the Superior Court in 1998, died on June 16.

Born in Winnipeg, Matheson moved to St. Catharines, Ont., at a young age. He attended Osgoode Hall Law School before practising at Sullivan Mahoney in St. Catharines.

According to the St. Catharines Standard, Matheson died as a result of heart surgery complications.

Zijad Saskin, president of the Welland County Law Association, told the Standard about a planned retirement party for Matheson, who died just before his 75th birthday.

“He was a wonderful judge and a great person,” Saskin told the Standard.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay has announced the appointment of immigration and administrative lawyer David Thomas as chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

An Osgoode Hall Law School graduate, Thomas already served as a part-time member of the tribunal. In its announcement, the Department of Justice said he “brings an understanding of employment law, human rights law, aboriginal issues, and experience in managing human and financial resources.”

Thomas’ appointment is effective in September.

MacKay also announced the appointment of Judy Mintz as a part-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Prior to her appointment, Mintz was executive director of Dundas Community Services. Her appointment is effective immediately.

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

The majority of respondents — 76 per cent— said they’re not willing to offer a placement to a law school graduate under the Law Society of Upper Canada’s fledgling law practice program.

The poll comes amid a push by those involved in the program to encourage lawyers to sign onto the placement portion of it. In an article in Law Times last week, Chris Bentley, executive director of the law practice program at Ryerson University, emphasized that the training “is not a course.”

Ryerson and the University of Ottawa are currently looking for lawyers who can offer a paid work placement for 2014-15 law practice program candidates. In the poll, 24 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to offer a placement.

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