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

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

Nordic club glides into new ski season

Special presentation by Olympian Ingrid Liepa

Remembering the sacrifice

An interview with Australian veteran John Wood, who lives in the Columbia Valley

Sheep-saving mission

On the hunt for a bighorn sheep with a tomato trellis stuck to her head; a Pioneer ridealong

Trudeau warns of dangers of nationalist leaders at historic armistice gathering

U.S. President Donald Trump in recent weeks described himself as a nationalist

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Wally Buono exits CFL, stinging from painful playoff loss

B.C. Lions lost the Eastern semifinal to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, 48-8

Pot company hopes to replace jobs lost in mill closure in B.C. town

About 200 workers lost their jobs when the Tolko sawmill in Merritt shuttered in 2016

Funding announcement promises to drive business innovation in B.C.

Minister is scheduled to make the announcement at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College

Ticats destroy Lions 48-8 in CFL East Division semifinal

Wally Buono’s last game as B.C. coach ends in disappointment

Olympic decision time for Calgarians in 2026 plebiscite

Calgary’s ‘88 legacy is considered among the most successful in Olympic Games history

Canadians mark Remembrance Day, 100 years since end of First World War

The sombre crowd stood in near-silence as it reflected on the battles that ended a century ago, and those that have come since

Most Read