Labour & Employment Law Blog

Does the Duty to Accommodate Survive an Employee’s Dismissal?

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Case Summary

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (“CHRC”) dismissed Mr. Davinder Khaper’s (“Mr. Khaper) complaint alleging that his former employer, Air Canada, had discriminated against him based on his mental disability, race and national or ethnic origin in terminating his employment. Mr. Khaper proceeded to bring an application for a judicial review of the CHRC’s decision with the Federal Court. He was not successful, so he appealed further. In Khaper v. Air Canada, 2015 FCA 99, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. Khaper’s appeal.

Mr. Khaper commenced work with Air Canada in 1997. During that time he was often subject to letters of expectation and discipline relating to either time theft or insubordination. Mr. Khaper was eventually fired for time theft in January, 2009.

In August 2009, Mr. Khaper retained counsel and obtained a psychiatric report that indicated for the first time that Mr. Khaper had bipolar affective disorder. There was no indication that either Mr. Khaper or Air Canada knew of this diagnosis prior to August 2009.

In January 2010, Mr. Khaper filed a complaint with the CHRC alleging that Air Canada discriminated against him on the basis of mental disability, race and national or ethnic origin in terminating his employment. The CHRC dismissed his complaint on the basis that there did not appear to be any link between the alleged discriminatory acts and any prohibited ground of discrimination. Mr. Khaper asked that the CHRC reopen his complaint. Again, his request was dismissed. Mr. Khaper then applied for judicial review. The Federal Court judge found that Mr. Khaper had not been denied procedural fairness and that the decision of the CHRC was reasonable. Mr. Khaper then appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Federal Court of Appeal found that the premise of Mr. Khaper’s appeal was that the employer’s duty to accommodate survived an employee’s dismissal. However, the Federal Court of Appeal disagreed with this premise.

The Federal Court of Appeal held that there is no duty to accommodate if the employer was legitimately unaware of an employee’s disability at the time of dismissal. The Federal Court of Appeal went on to state that to find otherwise would mean that the employee would have control over the commencement of the limitation period by choosing when to submit a request for reinstatement. It is reasonable for the CHRC for the purposes of the Act to decide that it was reasonable for an employer to refuse to reinstate an employee and it should not be considered discriminatory because it occurred after the employment was terminated.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.