BC Court of Appeal upholds Human Rights Tribunal decision clearing Fletcher Challenge

The BC Court of Appeal has upheld a significant decision of the Human Rights Tribunal that cleared Fletcher Challenge of an allegation that it had discriminated against an employee on the basis of criminal conviction. The employee had been incarcerated for sexual interference with a seven year old girl. The company refused his request for a leave of absence and dismissed him for unauthorized absence during his incarceration. The Tribunal ruled that an employee’s inability to report to work due to incarceration renders the individual’s conviction related to the employment or the intended employment within the meaning of section 13 of the Human Rights Code. It also held that the Code does not require an employer to accommodate an employee who has been convicted and incarcerated by giving the employee a leave of absence, even if doing so does not constitute undue hardship. This decision was upheld by both the BC Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal on appeal by the Human Rights Commission.

(Click here for Court of Appeal Decision)