Special test conditions for learning-disabled job applicant: Tribunal

School board should have explored other options for writing skills test, says tribunal
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/24/2011

An Ontario school board discriminated against a job applicant with a learning disability when it didn’t give him the opportunity to take a written test under special conditions, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

In November 2005, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) had openings for part-time caretakers. As part of the application process, the TDSB required all applicants to write a reading and math skills test, of which a passing mark would be 70 per cent. There were about 1,800 applicants for the 60 positions available, so the TDSB divided the applicants into four groups. Each group of 400 to 500 people would write the test in a cafeteria at one of four high schools on Nov. 25, 2005.

One applicant had a non-verbal learning disability, which meant his working memory, perceptual organization and processing speed were slower than average. His actual verbal skills were average, but his disability meant it took him longer to figure things out. Because of this, he often grew frustrated when placed under time limits.