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Human rights concerns from job interview lead to $56,000 ruling

Workplace discrimination is an issue faced by many people across Canada. Many know that there is legal recourse for human rights concerns related to termination, but what happens when a person doesn't even get a job for discriminatory reasons? A Cold Lake, Alberta, resident was recently awarded $56,000 in lost wages and damages from a company that refused to hire him due to his sexual orientation and race.

The male complainant is married to another man, who serves as an RCMP officer in the area. In the summer of 2014, he was interviewed for an office assistant job at a local auto body shop. During the 75-minute interview, the applicant was asked questions about religion, marriage, race and sexual orientation. The interviewer, who also happened to be the mayor of Cold Lake, advised the interviewee that he did not want to be politically correct and asked very direct questions about these topics. He also mentioned that he was Catholic and alluded to his beliefs on homosexual marriage.

The complainant brought these human rights concerns to a tribunal. He stated that the interview had made him depressed, anxious and withdrawn. Since he was interviewed by the mayor, he said he felt uncomfortable going into town or attending community events.

Alberta residents with human rights concerns often choose not to take legal action for many personal and professional reasons. However, those who do may find that there are options under provincial and national human rights law. Those with questions about their options or situation should contact an Alberta lawyer with experience in employment law.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Man refused job due to sexual orientation, race gets $56,000: Human Rights Tribunal", Kelly-Anne Riess, Nov. 6, 2017

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