TORONTO — A pair of Ontario teenagers will soon collect thousands of dollars after their employer fired them for observing a religious holiday.
The province’s human rights tribunal ruled that vegetable grower Country Herbs discriminated against the young siblings on the basis of their creed.
The tribunal heard and accepted evidence that the teens, identified only by their initials, provided several weeks of notice that they planned to take the day off to celebrate a holiday that was important to their Christian Mennonite faith.
Only the 16-year-old sister H.T. was scheduled to work that day, but both she and her 14-year-old brother J.T. were fired immediately after she failed to report to work.
Country Herbs argued that it dismissed H.T. for not complying with its attendance policy, but the tribunal ruled that the company made no effort to work with her to accommodate her religious beliefs.
The tribunal also found that her brother was let go solely for his association with her (guilty by association) and awarded the pair more than $26,000 in compensation and lost wages.
The Christian Mennonite holiday of Himmelfahrt happened to fall on Thursday, May 29, (2014) however, and H.T. informed the employer that she would be unable to work that day. The tribunal said that her brother had not been scheduled to put in a shift on that day.—Michelle McQuigge for the National Post.