Termination of anorexic worker discrimination: Tribunal

B.C. employee couldn’t see her own illness, but clues were there for employer as reason for decline in performance
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/22/2017

A British Columbia company’s application to dismiss a discrimination complaint by a terminated employee with anorexia nervosa has been denied by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The worker was hired by the company in May 2014 following a successful university career in which the worker finished third in her class. The worker had very good references from previous employers and the company found out quickly that she was able to work well independently and with good results.

However, things changed in the latter part of 2014 when the worker developed anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by obsessive attempts to lose weight, often to the point of starvation. As a result, the worker became malnourished and began to have trouble understanding, processing, and analyzing information — especially spoken information. Typically of those suffering from anorexia, the worker didn’t realize what was happening to her and she found her difficulties understanding things to be embarrassing.