Ontario worker gets $70,000 for discrimination and reprisal firing

Employee’s perceptions of discrimination were often wrong but employer didn’t investigate and fired him following complaint
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/29/2013

An Ontario company has been ordered by the province’s human rights tribunal to pay a former employee more than $70,000 in lost wages and other damages resulting from discrimination and harassment based on the employee’s race and reprisals for the employee’s complaint.

Aldeen Morgan was an installation scheduler for Workplace Resource, a division of Herman Miller Canada, a furniture design and installation company based in Toronto. The position was a new one created to streamline the supervision and scheduling of the installation crews for Herman Miller, who are subcontracted by the company. Morgan’s job was to be the go-between for the company and the installation crews, something which suited Morgan because he wanted to work in an office environment without physical labour, which he had done previously.

Morgan was aware that he was the only black man employed with Herman Miller, other than the subcontracted installation crews. He soon became concerned when he was asked to perform duties outside of his job description and outside of his regular work hours. Many of these duties involved physical labour such as moving heavy furniture. He felt he was required to do more and heavier work than others because of his colour.