Firm Charged With Intellectual Discrimination
The case against an Ontario-based firm made headlines earlier this month, when the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the firm must face consequences for years of discrimination. Janus Joan Inc. was accused of paying intellectually disabled employees less than minimum wage. According to the complaint, general labourers who did not have developmental disabilities were paid a minimum wage of $10.25/hour or higher while working for the firm.
Ken Bhattacharjee, vice-chair of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, ordered that the company compensate 45 year-old Terri-Lynn Garrie for lost wages and injuries to her dignity, but acknowledged that the issues surrounding the case are far more complicated.
Janus Joan Inc., a packaging company, was ordered to pay nearly $187,000 to Garrie after it was revealed that the woman was paid a mere $1.25/hour while employed by the firm. A closer examination of the ruling shows that, if the company did in fact discriminate against Garrie, it did so with the consent of the woman’s parents.
Parents and Disability Support Program Accused of Co-Discrimination
In her response to the allegations of discrimination, former company owner, Stacey Szuch accused Garrie’s mother, her support worker, and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) office of being co-discriminators.
Bhattacharjee admitted to being “quite troubled” by the emerging details of the case, especially when it was revealed that Garrie’s own mother did not demand that her daughter’s wages be increased, despite being employed by the company in a supervisory capacity. Garrie’s mother claims that while she and her husband were uncomfortable with the wage discrepancies, they did not file any complaints because Garrie enjoyed her work and the socialization that it provided.
Further complications arose when it was revealed that the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) was aware of Garrie’s situation, but failed to address it. The ODSP is responsible for providing income and employment support for disabled people, and operates as an extension of the ministry of community and social services.
Despite the 1986 changes to Ontario’s provincial legislation that prohibited the two-tiered wage system, it is evident that differential pay scales are still being used by employers.
Edmonton Employment Lawyers Can Defend You From Wage Discrimination
In Alberta, all employees are entitled to fair and equal compensation for work regardless of physical or mental ability. If you feel that you have been subjected to workplace discrimination based on developmental disabilities, an experienced employment lawyer can help defend your rights. The employment lawyers at Lypkie Henderson will ensure that your employer is held accountable for any discriminatory damages you’ve experienced, and are committed to helping you receive just compensation.