Text Termination Backfires: Man Fired for Hepatitis C Disclosure Wins $67K in Human Rights Case

In a recent case exemplifying the critical nature of equitable treatment within workplaces, a British Columbia man, terminated via text message after revealing his Hepatitis C diagnosis, has been granted $67,000 by the Human Rights Tribunal. The awarded sum addresses the substantial impact on the individual, including $54,080 sought in lost income. This amount encompasses $31,200 for the 26-week duration between October 3, 2018, and April 2, 2019, during which he was without employment. Additionally, it covers the remaining $22,880, representing the wage disparity between his former job at Path and the earnings from his subsequent employment over an additional 26-week period. This blog will examine the details of the case, highlighting the importance of upholding employee rights and the consequences employers may face when failing to do so.

The Incident

In a concerning incident, a worker in British Columbia was terminated through a text message after disclosing his Hepatitis C diagnosis to his employer. The insensitivity of the employer’s action was further highlighted by the Chief Safety Officer (CSO) revealing the employee’s medical condition to coworkers without consent. This violation of the employee’s privacy and breach of trust compounded the wrongful termination, resulting in a clear violation of the employee’s human rights.  

Legal Implications

The Human Rights Tribunal’s decision to award $67,000 in compensation emphasizes the significance of protecting employee rights and addressing discriminatory actions in the workplace. By recognizing the employer’s wrongful termination and breach of human rights, the Tribunal sends a powerful message that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and employees have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. 

The Role of Employers

Employers play a crucial role in fostering a fair and inclusive work environment. They are responsible for creating policies and practices that uphold human rights and preventing discrimination based on medical conditions or any other protected grounds. Proper training and education for employers and employees are essential to ensure awareness of these rights and prevent discrimination and unfair treatment.  

The Importance of Empathy and Sensitivity

How the termination was carried out – via a text message – highlights the employer’s lack of empathy and sensitivity. Employers must recognize the impact of their actions on employees and approach such situations with compassion and understanding. Open communication channels and supportive work culture are vital in promoting employee well-being and maintaining a respectful work environment.

Seeking Legal Recourse

Employees who experience discrimination or unfair treatment should know their legal rights and avenues for recourse. The Human Rights Tribunal provides an essential platform for employees to have their grievances addressed and seek appropriate compensation for the harm caused. This case serves as an example of the Tribunal’s commitment to upholding justice and protecting employee rights. 

This decision sheds light on the importance of respecting employee rights in the workplace. The decision to award $67,000 in compensation reminds employers to prioritize fair treatment and uphold human rights principles. Employers should foster an environment of empathy and sensitivity, ensuring that employees feel safe and valued. By promoting inclusivity and adhering to legal obligations, employers can cultivate a positive work culture that respects the rights and dignity of all employees. 

If you have any questions on unlawful termination or unfair treatment at your workplace, contact the lawyers at Kent Employment Law.  

Source: https://hrlawcanada.com/2023/05/b-c-man-fired-by-text-after-disclosing-he-had-hepatitis-c-awarded-67k-by-human-rights-tribunal/

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