Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Employer' Gives It To Babsy

The other day the National Post printed a letter by Ontario's head "human rights" commissar, Babsy Hall. Hall was complaining about Ian Hamilton's piece that was highly critical of the "human rights" system, a racket that, over the years, had morphed from benign corrective to bellicose beast. She argued that the system was still necessary because just the other week the "human rights" tribunal had awarded $25,000 to a women who had been forced to endure "racial slurs" in the workplace. In today's paper, a woman who says she's an "employer" takes issue with Babsy's characterization of the case--and with the ludicrous system that is set up to unfairly favour one side:
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.

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.
Advantage: Lipton.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

"So it seems that recognized legal tenets such as witnesses and documentation are unnecessary minutia according to our human rights commissions."
In fact, the complainant called both witnesses and presented documentation. Also, the body that adjudicated the matter was the Human Rights Tribunal, not the Human Rights Commission.

The allegations against Mr. Tompkin were not that he made an off colour joke or two, but that he engaged in systemic virulent racial harassment. Ultimately, in a case like this comes down to judging the credibility of both side's witnesses – and the vice-chair believed Ms. Khan's over Mr. Tompkin's.