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Dexterity Test Not Age Discrimination
June 2, 2006

A dexterity test utilized by Canada Post does not discriminate on the basis of age, the Federal Court has concluded.

Several casual employees of Canada Post filed a human rights complaint, alleging that a manual dexterity test discriminated against them on the basis of age. Canada Post administered the test to all employees seeking positions as postal clerks in mechanized mail sorting facilities. Only those employees who passed were eligible for further training and promotion to permanent postal clerk positions. The effect was that younger, less senior staff were promoted ahead of older staff.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed the complaint on the basis that the test was necessary to assess basic skills and requirements for the job and therefore constituted a bona fide occupational requirement. It found that the dexterity test measured abilities closely related to job performance and was a reliable and relevant indicator of future adaptability to the mechanized system.

The Federal Court agreed and upheld the Commission’s decision, applying the criteria outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s seminal decision on the duty to accommodate, Meiorin v. BCGEU. The court accepted the argument that, without the test, Canada Post would incur an undue hardship in organizing its staff and in training costs.

Bastide v. Canada Post Corporation, 2005 FC 1410.