BC Human Rights Tribunal’s Latest Bizarre Decision

I call the decision awarding 55 tree planters over $600,000 bizarre not because it is wrong (for a change) but because they value the “dignity and self-respect” of black African workers so much less than a single white wannabe doctor.

In the case of Balikama obo others v. Khaira Enterprises and others, 2014 BCHRT 107 there were real, substantial and ongoing human rights abuses, unlike the case of Carl Kelly, which I wrote about last week.

Carl as learning issues and ADHD, making it hard for him to cut it in medical school. UBC made significant and ongoing attempts to help Carl, yet according to the BC Human Rights Tribunal the university did not go anywhere near far enough in their accommodations of Carl Kelly and his pre-existing disabilities.

As I wrote last week:

Carl Kelly, after almost 2 full years, failed to complete his first year of training, including his first paediatrics rotation. In the words of the ruling, he failed. The word unsuitable could easily be used in place of failed, won’t you agree?

Extending Carl Kelly’s family medicine rotation over twice its normal duration seems like one heck of an accommodation to me. Moving him from his assigned rural training location to Vancouver seems like another. These say to me that UBC wanted Carl Kelly to succeed and made great strides to see that he did, even though his performance continued to be poor.

BC’s Human Rights Tribunal awarded Carl Kelly $75,000 just for the “injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect” he suffered. The total award in Carl’s case is $475,000… to a single individual.

In the case of 55 black African tree planters who were racially taunted, refused food, paid at the whim of Khaira Enterprises’ owners and in one case sexually harassed, this same BC Human Rights Tribunal saw fit to award only $10,000 to each individual for the “injury to their dignity and self-respect.

Maybe these same black Africans ought to file a human rights complaint against the BC Human Rights Tribunal itself, given the gross disproportionality of awards for black vs. white complainants in these two cases.

Now that’s a tribunal hearing I’d buy tickets to watch!


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