City must pay $20,000 damages in HRTO case

By Greg Kielec A human rights adjudicator has ordered the city of Cornwall to compensate a 23- year former city employee $20,000 in damages plus close to three years of lost wages. The city has also been ordered to cover $3,000 in medical expenses for Marie Ann Pilon, whom the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled late last year was discrimi- nated against based on a medical condition. The award covers Pilon’s lost wages from Sept. 15, 2005 to July 4, 2008, less any other employment or business income she earned over that time period, according to a deci- sion on remedy issued today by the tribu- nal. The Pilon’s husband Reg declined com- ment on behalf of the couple until all issues of the case are resolved when reached by email this past weekend. A copy of the decision was emailed to The Journal on Monday by David Draper, exec- utive director of Social Justice Tribunals Ontario, at the request of The Journal. Tribunal adjudicator David Muir has also recommended human rights training for city managers in his remedy decision. “The issues raised by this Application are largely systemic and flow largely from ig- norance of the Code’s requirements on the part of the City’s managers,” reads Muir’s Cornwall also ordered to pay almost three years in back pay to former employee

Portion of summary by adjudicator David Muir of the Human Rights Tri- bunal of Ontario in Pilon vs. City of Cornwall. . . . I have concluded that the respon- dents were in violation of their proce- dural obligations to accommodate the applicant on several occasions. First, there was their failure to properly in- vestigate her complaint of May 4, 2004. The respondent City and Mr. Menagh similarly failed to do so when requested by the applicant in October and December 2005, for reasons that I have found does not excuse them from their obligation under the Code. Similarly, when provided with evi- dence that the applicant was ill due to the unresolved workplace issues, Mr. Menagh failed to make enquiries. Fi- nally, the corporate respondent and Mr. Menagh failed in their procedural obligations in the manner in which the applicant’s employment was termi- nated. I have also found that the respondent City and Mr. Dick failed in their sub- stantive obligation to accommodate the applicant to the point of undue hardship when requested to do so in the letter of May 4, 2004. City managers violated obligations

Photo by Greg Kielec This screen shot shows the Sept. 14, 2011 Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision citing the city of Cornwall for violating the human rights of 23-year-employee Marie Anne Pilon. A decision on remedy in the case has been issued by the tribunal.

the respondent employer would be well-ad- vised to consider training of its other senior management involved in this matter. Tribunal ajudicator David Muir, in a deci- sion issued Sept. 14, 2011 ruled the city and key members of management had breached the province’s human rights code in its treatment of Pilon, a former finance depart- ment employee.

ruling. “The respondent City, on every level of management involved in this case, clearly did not understand their obligations under the Code. In all the circumstances, I find that it is appropriate that the individual re- spondents be required to take some human rights training to assist them in responding to the kind of issues which arose in this case.” “Although I make no order in this regard,

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