The Lynch List, 16-Aug-2011

First: A BC lawyer argues that employers cannot fire an employee if they receive a driving ban for drunk driving, and instead must accommodate their drinking-problem workers by buying (>$2000) and installing ignition interlock devices:

“Alcoholism is a disability and employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate an employee’s disability,” explained Martin Sheard.

An alcoholic employee will likely win a discrimination complaint if they were fired after receiving a 90-day driving prohibition and the employer chose to terminate the employee rather than install the ignition interlock device.

Second: Ontario’s government has announced that they will undertake a review of the human rights system in that province, without going into much details of what they will examine. Suspiciously timed, considering that an election is less than two months away and their main opponent has made reforming the Tribunal a key plank in his platform. Toronto lawyer Andrew Pinto will conduct the review – an obvious choice, since Pinto is already on record opposing all of Hudak’s proposed changes.

Third: The BCHRT decided to hear a complaint against a Surrey strata council over second-hand smoke. The smoker, coincidentally named Maureen Puffer, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Tribunal. But the complaint will proceed against the strata council, over an allegation that it did not do enough to prevent Puffer from smoking.

My question is this: Wasn’t a bylaw violated? If so, let the bylaw process run its course. If not, what’s the problem? But no, we need to have a complaint so that the Tribunal can invent new rights that strata owners can claim against their councils.

Fourth: Discrimination is only okay when the Tribunal does it. Or at least when it approves of it. Scaramouche dug up a list of approved discriminators. Some of them are quite reasonable. Others are not, such as banning white people from particular jobs. Either way, it puts the Tribunal in charge of what is and is not morally acceptable discrimination. So the government can discriminate, but people can’t – isn’t that the exact opposite of what is stated in the Charter? 

Fifth: Poor Ezra. Now they’re naming sewage treatment plants after him.


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