In Torres v Vancouver Native Health Society ( 2010 BCSC 523) Justice Murray awarded 24 months notice to a 58 year old Project Manager with 20 years service.
The Court also awarded $30,000 for aggravated damages for the following reasons:
1) Abruptly and without notice terminating his employment when, as Mr. Demerais testified at his examination for discovery, there was no reason to do so;
2) Immediately escorting him from the office;
3) Sending out an email to the entire DTES social services community advising that he was no longer employed by or associated with them, leaving the impression that the plaintiff had been engaged in some wrong doing or impropriety;
4) Having him served with an intimidating lawyer’s letter demanding that he cease and desist communicating with any of the defendant’s employees and threatening legal action instead of talking to him about their concerns;
5) Making baseless allegations about the plaintiff to the LRB to justify their actions; and
6) Deceiving him about the true reason for his dismissal. It was only during the trial that the plaintiff learned the true reason for his termination. As outlined above both Mr. Demerais and Ms. Vermette conceded in cross-examination that the plaintiff was actually terminated because he was not an Indigenous Canadian.
Why didn’t the judge also award damages for breach of the Human Rights Code ?
52 I pause to note that whether firing the plaintiff for not being Indigenous is discriminatory or contrary to the Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210, is not an issue before me. The import of this evidence in this trial is that it shows that the defendant was dishonest with the plaintiff and the LRB about why his employment was terminated.
One wonders how much more would have been awarded for the human rights component if it had been properly pleaded.