Re: A Dangerous Evolution, Ian Hunter, Feb. 18; Why We Still Need HRCs, Barbara Hall, Feb. 19.
Ian Hunter chronicles the demise of human rights commissions, starting from their auspicious beginnings in 1962 with the advent of the Ontario Human Rights Code into a court of fear and intimidation for those who have the misfortune of being charged under its legislation.Advantage: Lipton.
Ironically, Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, retorts that the "commissions and tribunal are still needed" and she cites the Khan vs. Tompkins case ( "Rights tribunal awards $25,000 for racial slurs in workplace").
An employee "was fired because she used Facebook at work and was occasionally late for her shifts," according to her employer, Lynn Tompkins, who brought several employees to the tribunal as witnesses.
The story does not indicate that the employee has witnesses or proof of her allegations of racial slurs being hurled at her. Yet, "tribunal adjudicator Eric Whist ruled in Ms. Khan's favour to the tune of $25,000, saying she was forced to be in a 'poisoned work environment' and endure 'overt racial abuse on a repeated basis.' "
So it seems that recognized legal tenets such as witnesses and documentation are unnecessary minutia according to our human rights commissions.
As an employer in Ontario, it is more than troubling to know that I cannot dismiss an employee with grounds since any disgruntled employee may successfully complain to the provincial HRC and find retribution against an employer who simply wants honest work for an honest wage.
Sheryl P. Lipton, Toronto.