The BC Supreme Court has overturned a damage award made by the Human Rights Tribunal where the complainant had not requested compensation in his complaint.
After a hearing, the tribunal found that a cab company and its owner discriminated against a disabled individual when they declined him service because of the way in which he entered the cabs. The complainant, who used wrist-held crutches, entered the cabs by supporting himself partially on the steering wheel. The cab company declined service to him because of its concern that his manner of entering would cause damage to the vehicles.
The tribunal found that the company’s concerns were not reasonably justified and ordered it to cease refusing service to the complainant. It also ordered the company and its owner to pay the complainant $2,500 for injury to dignity.
The respondents petitioned the BC Supreme Court for a judicial review of the tribunal’s decision. The court upheld the finding of discrimination but set aside the damage award. The complainant admitted that he had not been seeking a monetary award and the court held that the respondents were entitled to rely on this representation. The court also noted that the respondents had not been given an opportunity to address the issue of damages before the tribunal.