BC Human Rights Tribunal Orders Strata to Pay Dismissed Caretaker

Lee v. Strata Plan LMS 4082 StrataCorp.; 2012 BCHRT 3

In this recent decision from the BC Human Rights Tribunal, a commercial mall known as Empire Centre was ordered to pay its former caretaker of two years nearly $45,000 after it dismissed him with inadequate notice. The complainant, a 63-year-old man, suffered from hypertension and has asked for help dealing with various aspects of his job that he found stressful. Relying on earlier decisions, the tribunal found that hypertension was a recognized disability and that the strata corporation owed the complainant a duty to accommodate his disability. The award included $6,500 for loss of dignity and $39,000 for lost earnings. The earnings component of the award was subject to statutory deductions.

Cases like this highlight the importance of obtaining legal advice before terminating an employee and the importance of considering a possible human rights complaint where the employee has advised the employer of health issues in the past. The case is also notable because, in my view, the complainant had scant evidence to support his claim. At the end of the day, the tribunal preferred the complainant’s evidence to that of the council. In commenting on the council’s evidence, the tribunal commented: “duplicative, vague and generalized”. The tribunal also found that the strata council’s key witness had considerable antipathy towards the complainant and therefore discounted that witness’s testimony.

What we do: Lesperance Mendes advises strata corporations and owners on a wide range of matters including employment contract, termination, and human rights issues. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients in employment matters before the Supreme Court, the BC Court of Appeal and the Human Rights Tribunal. For more information about our strata law practice, contact Paul G. Mendes at 604-685-4894 or by email at pgm@lmlaw.ca.

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Lesperance Mendes Lawyers
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