Chris Hughes has won a Human Rights Tribunal case after being denied a job when he admitted to suffering from depression. (Facebook)

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Victoria man be given a full-time job, and compensation that could reach $500,000, from Transport Canada.

The tribunal ruled Chris Hughes faced discrimination after he was denied a position in 2006, after telling interviewers he had experienced depression.

He learned of the decision in early June.

Hughes said he had done well in preliminary tests and interviews for a marine intelligence officer position with Transport Canada, getting 91 per cent on a knowledge test and acing an hour-long interview with a panel board.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” Hughes said. “But I felt good about it.”

Hughes said the next step was to look at references, which he deliberately left blank because of past problems with his employer. He previously worked for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, now known as the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Canada Border Services Agency.

“I explained to TC that I was a whistle-blower,” Hughes said.

ALSO READ: BCTF files human rights complaint against B.C. school trustee over LGBTQ comments

Hughes had filed two internal complaints, one while working on the revenue side of the agency, and one while working for the border services branch.

After filing these complaints in 2000, Hughes said he faced “retaliatory reactions” that made his work life “hostile and toxic” for the next five years before he was forced to resign.

As a consequence of the job loss, Hughes became depressed and was forced to liquefy assets in order to survive.

“I told [Transport Canada] that I had become sick from the reprisals by CRA and CBSA, and had to take time off work and that Health Canada was involved,” Hughes said. “They really didn’t seem put off at all.”

Hughes said he had offered other referrals, and performance reviews from the CRA and CBSA, and that Transport Canada seemed fine with those alternatives.

“Then they called me and told me I had failed,” he said.

Hughes said he then struggled to find work, and would end up couch-surfing and taking up contract jobs to make ends meet.

In June 2006, he filed a public service commission staffing complaint to get copies of the board notes, which revealed that references weren’t necessary to pass if the interview was strong enough.

However, it wasn’t until 2013 when Hughes was able to see the original copies of the interview lead sheets that he realized his interview notes had been altered. The finding led to a case with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, where decisions are split between a liability and a remedy hearing. The liability decision came out in 2014 and was in Hughes’s favour, but was then set aside by a federal judge, and appealed, and then reinstated.

The delay in the process led to a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, which only added to the complexity.

“In 2009, I did a privacy request to see what was going on,” Hughes said. “The privacy co-ordinator said it would take four years to process because there were 30,000 documents.”

This month, the remedy decision was announced: Hughes would be hired as a marine intelligence officer, and be paid for five years of missed payment, which he estimated would be near $500,000, including pensions and benefits.

ALSO READ: B.C. university student’s diaper fetish now a human rights issue

When reached for comment, Transport Canada said via email:

“Transport Canada is reviewing the remedies decision; the department is not in a position to provide more information on personnel matters.”

ALSO READ: B.C. university student’s diaper fetish now a human rights issue

Hughes said he has mixed feelings about the results, saying it took far too long, and that he doesn’t understand why only five of the 12 years were covered. He also has not seen any dates as to when the job or funding will come through.

“Until I’m hired, I’ve asked to have leave with pay now so I can have my health and dental back,” he said. “I’ve also asked that they immediately pay $200,000 so I can repay my debts.”



nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

Just Posted

Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw put on hold

City council allows time to pursue more compassionate solutions

No end in sight, smoke is here to stay

There is no anticipated change in weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap this week

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Animal rights activists to protest Kelowna’s RibFest launch

Animal rights activists plan on sinking their teeth into an annual event they say is unethical and unhealthy.

Searing memories of the 1998 Silver Creek wildfire in the Shuswap

Tales from the fight against the blaze that nearly destroyed Salmon Arm

No growth on the Monashee Complex wildfires

Mabel Creek, Sugar Mountain and Harris Creek fires continue to burn near Lumby and Cherryville

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

Health centre plan for Sicamous’ Main Street takes shape

District applying for rural dividend funding for the design of new building

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

UPDATE: Three new fires sparked in the South Okanagan- Similkameen

BC Wildfire Service is responding to a blaze off Olalla forest service road

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Most Read