Human Muslim Rights Tribunal orders Imperial Oil to pay $120,000 to a Pakistani Muslim applicant, Muhammad Haseeb (below), whose job offer was rejected by the company after it learned he had lied about his immigration status.
National Post (h/t Richard S) Muhammad Haseeb, a university graduate in engineering, has been awarded over $120,000 by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in a discrimination in employment application against Imperial Oil. What makes this case particularly interesting is that Haseeb never actually worked for Imperial Oil. The discrimination in question was the company’s reneging on a job offer.
The case involved a hiring policy requiring applicants to prove they were eligible to work in Canada on a permanent basis. Haseeb would have been eligible for a work permit for a job at Imperial Oil but he was neither a Canadian citizen nor permanent resident. In his application, he stated — falsely — that he was in fact eligible to work on a permanent basis. This led to a job offer. But when Imperial Oil asked for proof of citizenship or permanent residency, he could not provide it. As a result, Imperial Oil rescinded the offer.
Before the human rights tribunal the company argued that the offer was rescinded because of Haseeb’s dishonesty, not his lack of citizenship. The tribunal held that although Haseeb may have been dishonest, the discriminatory policy the company followed was enough to constitute a violation of Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
What discriminatory policy is that, you may ask? The tribunal ruled that this distinction was not a bona fide occupational requirement. Though it is legitimate not to hire someone because they lied, if the reason they lied was to avoid discriminatory treatment, the tribunal held, the lie is justified and the question illegal.
Under Ontario human rights law, successful applicants are put in the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory action. Haseeb successfully argued that he was entitled to be paid lost income for the four years — yes, four years — his case took to be heard and decided. On top of that, he was awarded $15,000 as compensation for injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect.
Awards as high as Haseeb’s are still relatively rare. But employers in the province may need to recalibrate the financial risk they face for violating the Human Rights Code. One thing is clear: discrimination has become a very costly mistake in Ontario.
For employers, it’s not worth the risk. Never hire a Muslim in the first place if you don’t want to get sued.
In a related story, in 2006, The Rebel Media’s Ezra Levant was one of the only publishers to print the so-called “Danish Mohammed Cartoons.” An Alberta imam filed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission, charging Levant with printing “hate speech.” Levant spent $100,000 fighting the Human Rights Commission over his publication of the cartoons. Eventually the charges were dropped.
The Rebel Levant was the publisher of the Western Standard magazine. which ran a news story on the Danish cartoons of Mohammed and the deadly Muslim riots that followed. Being a news magazine, photos of the cartoons to show the central element of the story were included.
Muslim activists filed “hate speech” complaints against the magazine, and Levant personally, for reporting this legitimate news story. What followed was straight out of Kafka: a 900-day investigation by no fewer than 15 government bureaucrats and lawyers for the thought crime of publishing news “likely to expose a person to hatred or contempt.” Truth was not a defense; journalism was not a defense. The commission had invented a counterfeit human right not to be offended.