Thursday, February 16, 2012

Human Rights Tribunal Again Exposed as Unfair

Ontario Rights Tribunal found a law librarian guilty of racial profiling when she asked for identification from a prospective user of the library.

The Ontario Divisional Court found otherwise, stating that the evidence on which tribunal vice-chair EricWhist made his decision was inconsistent with other facts in the case.

The court found that Whist switched the onus of proof from the complainant to the respondent, and "placed [the librarian] in the difficult position of trying to prove a negative, namely, that her conduct in the performance of her routine duties was not motivated by race and colour."

The court also said the tribunal "misconceived" in comparing the librarian's conduct to racial profiling by the police.

Whist himself admitted his decision was based on inference not evidence. This again points up the inherent weakness of human rights tribunals -- lack of impartiality.

The court assessed the complainant with court costs ($20,000). His tribunal costs were borne by the taxpayer.

The question remains -- what if the librarian lacked the resources to launch an appeal? We can only speculate how often injustice is perpetrated by these tribunals when someone convicted by inference cannot afford an appeal to a real court.

The National Post, December 19, 2012.
The complainant appealed the Divisional Court decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal, claiming, "There's no mention of hairstyle discrimination, but it's real." In demanding a re-write of the Ontario Human Rights Code, he said, "I want you to think of a new law. If you have dreadlocks, you can be discriminated against."

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