Employment & Labour

Wrongful dismissal, human rights damages awarded

A recent Superior Court ruling where an employee represented by Toronto lawyer Michael Wright was awarded both wrongful dismissal and human rights damages awards demonstrates the legal consequences for discrimination on the basis of family status, Law Times reports.

In the decision, Superior Court Justice Susan Healey ordered Botony Dental Corp. to pay $20,000 in human rights damages for discrimination on the basis of family status as part of a civil action for wrongful dismissal, reports the publication. In Partridge v. Botony Dental Corp., more than $42,000 was also awarded for wrongful dismissal.

Wright, of Wright Henry LLP, and co-counsel Christopher Perri represented the plaintiff in the matter.

The case deals with a woman who sought damages in relation to the alleged wrongful termination of her employment with Botony Dental Corp., reads the decision. The defendant alleged it terminated the woman’s employment for just cause.

The woman began her employment with the dental clinic in March 2004 as a hygienist, and in 2007, her role changed to office manager, says the decision. On maternity leave in 2011, the woman was set to return to work in July and was told she’d be booked into the hygienist schedule. By changing her position, the woman alleged the clinic reduced her work hours, as well as the certainty of those hours.

After requesting to work during hours that did not conflict with her daycare arrangements, the woman alleges she was terminated. She alleged by failing to provide reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice, the company breached the terms of the employment agreement. It also discriminated against her by not reinstating her to her prior position, the woman alleged.

The clinic argued that the woman demanded her hours be altered, and when the request was denied, she “began to systematically harass management and other employees,” constituting lawful cause for dismissal.

Healey found the woman was wrongfully terminated, and discriminated against on the basis of family status. She ordered $42,517.44 be paid as damages for wrongful dismissal and $20,000 be paid for a breach of the Human Rights Code. Justice Healey also dismissed all of the defendant's counter claims, which had sought damages of $400,000.

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