The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has found that Interfor discriminated against a disabled employee when it dismissed him to avoid paying him severance when it closed its mill. The Tribunal ordered the employer to pay the complainant both his severance and $12,500 for injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect.
The complainant had worked at the employer’s mill for more than 28 years. He took a leave of absence after being diagnosed with a serious medical condition which rendered him unable to work. While he was on leave, the employer decided to close the mill and began preparing offers of severance to its employees. Before the offers were made, it dismissed the complainant for non-culpable absenteeism.
The Tribunal found that the primary reason for the employer’s decision to dismiss the complainant was to avoid its severance obligations, and therefore the decision was discriminatory.
The award of $12,500 is one of the highest amounts the Tribunal has granted to date for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect.