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This summer we wrote about the decision in Haseeb v. Imperial Oil Limited where the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) confirmed that employers may not impose requirements on job applicants including requirements based on citizenship or permanent resident status without risking a finding of a violation under the Human Rights Code (the “Code”). 

You can read more about the details of the case here. This case is important for companies, individuals, and employment lawyers.

Background Facts

In short, the case involved the hiring policy of Imperial Oil which required applicants to prove they were eligible to work in Canada on a permanent basis to be considered for a position with the company.

Because of this policy, Mr. Haseeb would not have been eligible for a job at Imperial Oil because, while he was a legal foreign worker, he was neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident. In his application to Imperial Oil, Mr. Haseeb falsely stated that he was eligible to work on a permanent basis, which led to a job offer. When Imperial Oil subsequently asked for proof of Haseeb’s citizenship or permanent residency, he could not provide it and, as a result, Imperial Oil rescinded the offer.

Mr. Haseeb responded by bringing an application to the HRTO in which he claimed that he was a victim of discrimination. The Tribunal subsequently held that Imperial Oil’s policy violated the Code because it resulted in discrimination based on citizenship, a protected ground.  

While the Tribunal found that Mr. Haseeb was a victim of discrimination, they chose to hold off on providing a decision with respect to what Mr. Haseeb should be awarded, pending either successful mediation between the parties or further evidence on what is an appropriate remedy.  This process is now complete and a decision on the appropriate remedy has now been released.

Extensive Damages Awarded

Mr. Haseeb specifically successfully argued that he was entitled to be paid lost income for the four years his case took to be heard and decided. In its decision dated August 23, 2019, the HRTO awarded Haseeb $101,363.00 in lost income, $15,000 as compensation for injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect as well as pre-judgment interest that amounted to almost $4,000.00. In full, the HRTO ordered that Imperial Oil Limited pay Haseeb, who, it should be noted, never actually worked a day at Imperial Oil, over $120,000.00.

The HRTO’s decision is an important reminder of the potential consequences of adhering to policies that violate the human rights of both employees and potential hires.

If you are seeking assistance with respect to any employment matters relating to company policies, including whether there may be recourse as a result of human rights discrimination resulting in wrongful dismissal, unjust dismissal, or otherwise, please contact Toronto human rights lawyers Sultan Lawyers at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com or 416-214-5111.


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