Monday, October 19, 2009

To HRC or Not to HRC

Responding to Comments

I wrote a piece back on May 30, 2009 about an HRC case that did not occur, where a young woman, who is my second cousin, has a rare mildly disabling disease that is visible and causes her discomfort. She was fired from her job as a server in a local restaurant and got on with her life, refusing to get into the HRC schmozzle of process. I lauded her forbearance and determination.

Well, the other day I got a comment to the post that I responded to and another response back from the Anonymous commenter. Because the comments were thoughtful, I felt they warranted being part of another post and here we are.

Here is the first comment:

It is great that this women eventually found a great place to be employed. However, the purpose of a human rights investigation is not limited to that individual (the young women in this case). Instead it involves all members of society, those who have a disability and those who would discriminate against them.

I do believe that each indivdual should do what is best for them but feel the ones that should be applauded are the ones who are willing to go through that grueling human rights investigation process to hold people accountable for discrimination.

This article seems to suggest that rolling over rather than standing up is what is the way to go...to that point I would have to disagree.

But I would still agree with the last line "Good for you, Lizzie"!!

I responded as follows:

There is no gruelling human rights investigation process for the Complainant. It is only gruelling and expensive for the Respondent.

I have a disability. Today, I cannot leave my house because of it. With my disability it is not practical for places of work, or institutions to accommodate me. I don't need them to accommodate me, and I do not need to play victim because they don't or can't. I don't even intend to tell them that I am disabled.

I would rather live my life as free as I can than be a victim.

To think that the government is any "victim's" friend is a fallacy. The HRCs run a sausage making machine, not a justice machine, and it stacks up rights as it makes them up and as it chooses, so that my rights as a disabled person would trump my rights as a Christian. I refuse to give them the chance.

And Anonymous responded back to me again with more thoughts here:

Asserting your rights is a far cry from becoming a victim and I would argue It is empowering. The Duty to Accommodate only extends so far. And if you simply can't work then of course they cannot accommodate you.

I am stunned that you, as a disabled person could be anti-HRC(now HRT) they advocate on behalf of individuals who are routinely discriminated against in all aspects of society, especially employment. I am working with a woman who has a disability and was fired for taking 6 month Medical Leave of Absence to receive treatment and to recuperate...yes fired for being disabled. Instead of rolling and 'living her life' she is standing up for her rights and demanding to be treated fairly. This women works with people with disabilities, and so do I, and find her determination inspiring. She is standing on principle. And this process is gruelling when you have the issues to deal with that she has. The way you talk of it being gruelling for the Respondents makes me think that you were one. I am glad it is exhausting to those who would strip the rights and dignity from the disabled Canadians.
I would think that someone with a disability would condemn the businesses and individuals who rob others of their Human Rights. Keep in mind that HRC stands for Human Rights Commission or as it is now referred to the Human Rights Tribunal. Instead of targeting them for trying to protect Canadians from Human Rights Violations why not call out the people who are continuing to discriminate against the disabled and other groups.

Don’t Shut Up....Stand UP!!!!

Well, I think the thoughts of Anonymous are meaningful and worthy of further thought and comment. So, it being my blog, I get the last say, even if I have to wait out Anonymous (tongue in cheek).

I have contended since I started writing this blog that I am more interested in the TRUTH, than in being right. Hence, I take what Anonymous says seriously.

"A" suggested that I have been a Respondent. To date that is not the case, and I hope it never will be. But, I have seen the process up very close. Two friends of mine have been victimized by the process, one in Ontario and one in Alberta. I have never disclosed the name of the friend in Ontario because her case is ongoing, but my friend in Alberta is Stephen Boissoin. You can read what I have written about both cases, as it is voluminous.

"A" is stunned that as a disabled person I am anti HRT here in Ontario. You bet your sweet ?ss I am anti HRT, and I have made my reasons pretty clear about that for the last several months.

But "A" pointed out the story of a person he/she regards highly who is disabled:

I am working with a woman who has a disability and was fired for taking 6 month Medical Leave of Absence to receive treatment and to recuperate...yes fired for being disabled. Instead of rolling and 'living her life' she is standing up for her rights and demanding to be treated fairly. This women works with people with disabilities, and so do I, and find her determination inspiring. She is standing on principle.

I know nothing about the case so cannot comment on specifics. However, if there are grounds for fighting the dismissal, the HRT is not the place to go. There are good laws in this province to protect us against illegal hiring and firing practices. "Demanding to be treated fairly" is an interesting perspective, because it is only in the eyes of the one who thinks he/she is not being treated fairly.

You may recall my posting on ADGA, back in May 2009 where a new employee lied when being hired about his disability, on which basis he would not have qualified for the job he applied for. He went over the wall, was fired and the Ontario HRC/HRT gave him a bucket full of money for being a disabled liar. That to me was not principle, but lying to get what you want. I could do that to get a job, knowing that I would get an HRT tax free pay check in the end, but that is immoral and I cannot participate in something like that.

ADGA is one example of many cases I have reviewed where the liberals at the HRT beat the stuffings out of Respondents, regardless of the rightness or wrongness of their cause, do not use any meaningful evidentiary procedures to come to their determinations and then find in favour of the Claimant if the Claimant fits into one of their discriminatory boxes. I do not want to be a party to that.

But, I am not saying I am rolling over and playing dead either. My employer did not fire me, and has not fired me after almost 6 years of disability, because they are a good company. I also receive benefits from an insurance company that supplement my very reduced wages, and my wife and I are living within our means. We have a court claim in against the driver that hit me, and it has not settled in the almost 6 years, and may take another year or 2 to be finished as well. My lawyer has been in touch with my employer as needed, and if they had terminated me, I would not have laid down, but on legal grounds not on grounds of some cooked up discrimination.

But A's concluding comments are important ones to think on and to respond to:

I would think that someone with a disability would condemn the businesses and individuals who rob others of their Human Rights. Keep in mind that HRC stands for Human Rights Commission or as it is now referred to the Human Rights Tribunal. Instead of targeting them for trying to protect Canadians from Human Rights Violations why not call out the people who are continuing to discriminate against the disabled and other groups.

Don’t Shut Up....Stand UP!!!!

Well, A, I have now about 300 posts on my blog, most of which are about HRC/HRT incompetence, and meddling into our society. So, I am standing up, not shutting up, just not agreeing with you.

I do not see businesses and individuals robbing others of their Human Rights. I see people that make mistakes innocently, or sometimes at the behest of, or behind the guise of a corporate veil. We have courts to protect us from illegal activities, and abuse of others.

But mainly I see HRCs/HRTs redefining human rights far beyond our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and denying me my rights so you can have yours, not you particularly, but the collective you that is politically correct for the moment.

I do not trust the government to protect my interests. I accept that they will operate to their own agenda, which is self protection and then expansion.

When it comes to dealing with government directly I agree with author P.J. O'Rourke:

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

10 comments:

Brian said...

Hello, Anonymous here. Thank you for your comments on my response to one of your posts. I really do appreciate it. I just popped in to see what was new and saw this. It is a bit late in the evening to make a full and complete response but I thought I would let you know that I will tomorrow. I may even need to seek some advice from you, despite our differing points of view.

By the way, you can call me Brian if you’d like, although Anonymous certainly seems more intriguing.

Anyways, I will post tomorrow. And I thank you again for this opportunity to voice my views.

Sincerely,

Brian

Brian said...

P.S.
What may I refer to you as? Any name?
Thanks.

Brian said...

mbrandon8026,

I must admit that I do have a difficult time understanding your approach to this issue. In your response to my comment that we need to Stand-Up not Shut-up when it comes to Human Rights violations you responded that you have numerous posts on the issue and that you are standing up. I will admit that you do have many posts on the HRC but I would not exactly say you are standing up against those who would discriminate against the disabled or any group in Canada. To that end I really do not see how you are standing up for those who face very real discrimination.

You criticize the process, yet do not propose an alternative. You discuss only the cases where the individual going to the HRC are abusing the system, which they are. But to only discuss the cases where the HRC was misused by immoral and selfish people greatly misses the point.

If you were really standing up for the disabled you would also discuss some of the egregious cases where an individual’s Human Rights were violated. However, they do not fit into your narrative so you look past anytime the HRC may have helped someone who faced discrimination and choose only to examine the HRC through the cases that abused the system.

Let me be very very clear, I do not believe that the HRC is perfect or even the preferred system to protect our Human Rights. But my problem is with YOUR overall approach to the issue of Human Rights, those who violate them and the response of those whose rights have been violated. This is an important point I would like you and other to keep in mind as you read my post.

You State that, “I have now about 300 posts on my blog, most of which are about HRC/HRT incompetence, and meddling into our society. So, I am standing up, not shutting up, just not agreeing with you.”

1) You may be standing up...standing up to an institution designed to protect the rights of Canadians which may be far from perfect. But you are applauding others who are ‘shutting up’ when it comes to enforcing their Human Rights and holding those who would break the law deny others of their Rights (which are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

You actually say that people should just move on and live their lives. But do you not think that if everyone did that and there was no accountability that this problem would get even worse and that employers discriminate to an even larger extent then they currently do? I understand and appreciate your valid concerns with the HRC but I feel that your distain for the HRC and the immoral people who abuse the system has clouded your perception of the discrimination that takes place and the consequences it has for real people and real lives.

Do you really not believe that those who have faced Human Rights violations should resist, should fight? Do these people fighting for the rights of all Canadians to be treated fairly and with dignity deserve our appreciation and respect? Or should they just ‘move on with their lives’ and get over it?

2) I do not quite understand your following statement that the HRC, “stacks up rights as it makes them up and as it chooses, so that my rights as a disabled person would trump my rights as a Christian. I refuse to give them the chance” . I would contend that discrimination against disabled people is a universal right and is in keeping with Christian values and rights. How exactly is the HRC enforcing rights that trump your rights as a Christian? Which Rights do you not agree with?

I have read you chastise the HRC for clearly outline Human Rights which muddles up your simplistic view that we should all be nice and get along. But the problem is, people don’t. Are you saying that those 15 classes of discrimination do not need to be protected? Which ones would you get rid of? And in the words of Voltaire, “I may not agree or like what you have to say but I would fight to the death for your right to say it”!!

Brian said...

mbrandon8026,

My post was too large for one continuous post. Here is the second half.
3) I would also like to address your response to my comment regarding my friends efforts to demand she be treated equally. You responded, "Demanding to be treated fairly is an interesting perspective, because it is only in the eyes of the one who thinks he/she is not being treated fairly.”

Are you really claiming that all violations of Human Rights are in the ‘eye of the beholder’?

This is unfair and disingenuous. To assert that there are not objective, unquestionable cases of discrimination is disheartening. Are women who face sexual harassment in the workplace only in the eye of the beholder? So it really never happens that women are sexually harassed or disabled people fired for their disability... no no no....the women who refused to have sex with her boss just sees it that way. Your friend who was fired for having skin blisters was just imagining her discrimination. My friend who was fired for having a disability that the employer did not want to be inconvenienced by is just imagining it that way.


Really, when it comes to Human Rights there are no objective facts. Right?

4) You state the following, “We have a court claim in against the driver that hit me, and it has not settled in the almost 6 years, and may take another year or 2 to be finished as well. My lawyer has been in touch with my employer as needed, and if they had terminated me, I would not have laid down, but on legal grounds not on grounds of some cooked up discrimination.”

Once again, if someone who is discriminated against wants to assert their rights is really just a case of “cooked up discrimination”. This is SO insulting. Just because some abuse the system does not make everyone a liar. Please do not paint us all with your same jaded brush!

Can I also be clear that discrimination are legal grounds. I am not sure what you are saying. What are the legal grounds? Being fired for having a disability is a legal issue and a Human Rights issue. It is a false dichotomy to say it is either one or the other. Human Rights violations are illegal. Your downplay and dismissal of Human Rights violations as “in the eye of the beholder”, “cooked up discrimination” and not really a legal issue is more than unfortunate...it is downright shameful!!

5) It would seem from your statement that you would enforce your rights through the court system. From what you have faced fighting your insurance company (6 years already and 2 more to come) is that really a good system? Could you afford 8 years of court proceedings to right a wrong? Should the lady I work with wait for 8 years to have her rights be respected? I think the result would be most people saying that the fight is just too hard and too long to be worth it. Most people do not have the resources to pay for expensive lawyers and court costs. Should my friend have to wait for 8 years to get her job back?

Brian said...

mbrandon8026,

My post was too large for one continuous post. Here is the third and final part.

6) You spoke previously of how the HRC just costs taxpayers and employers money. I would love to know the cost to the taxpayers to resolve your dispute to get money from an insurance company or even better, I wonder how much your lawyer will receive once your case is settled? I bet it would make the $20000 ‘pot load’ of money that the HRC awarded someone look like chump change. (don’t get me wrong I hope you get every penny you deserve).

But do you not think that there are insurance cheats? Do you not think that many insurance companies look at injured claimants as ‘playing victim’? Do you not believe that they would argue that much of your pain and suffering is ‘in the eye of the beholder’? Do you not think that people suing insurance companies cost the rest of us a great deal of money in higher rates?

And even though you are going through the courts to get money for yourself I support you and your efforts. Just because the courts do not always get it right and just because there are immoral people out there who would abuse and cheat the system does not make want to simply tell you to ‘move on and live your life’ and ‘don’t play the victim’.

7) I must admit that your comment, “I do not need to play victim” is extremely insulting. While that is fine for you, implicit in this statement is that some disabled people ‘play’ victims rather than actually be victims. I can assure you that the women I know is not ‘playing the victim’ but rather has been victimized by an illegal activity.

Asserting your rights is not playing victim. Pressing charges for assault does not mean than that individual is playing a victim, rather it is the resistance to being made into a victim. It is the refusal to be treated unfairly and without compassion. Had it not been for the actions of the assailant or in my case the unlawful actions of the employer, there would be no victim.

Do you really believe that there are no victims of discrimination? Do you not believe that disabled people often suffer dearly as a result? Demanding to be treated with dignity and compassion is not ‘playing the victim’ it is asserting your God given rights as a human. Good for you for being strong but don’t demean others for asserting their rights!!

I would hope that rather than implying that disabled people are playing the victim when they assert their rights that you would repudiate the individuals who victimize them...In other words DON’T BLAME THE VICTIM!

Brian said...

Hey there. I posted a response a few days ago but it hasn't appeared as of yet. I was wondering if you had received it or if I should post it again?
Thanks
Brian

Brian said...

Not posting my comments?? Where is the open discussion?? Not really into defending your position?

Brian

mbrandon8026 said...

Dear Brian:

Usually I get my comments by email, so I do not have to go to comment moderation to find them. Consequently, I was not even aware of your comments until this morning. I am not sure why this happened, but will see if I can fix it.

I was not ignoring them, and intend to make them available in a new posting soon, and will comment here with the link. My reason for making them into a new posting is (I think as I have said before)that when people take the time to make meaningful comment to something I have written, whether or not I agree with it, I think it deserves to stand on its own, and not be hidden in comments that most people never will see.

From my first look, I see that you have passion for what you are saying, and that counts with me. I will spend the time that your passion deserves in examining what you have written, before I respond.

My personal passion is not with the HRC's. I do not see government intervention in our lives as a good thing. I do however see the UDHR as a good thing, and in fact am in agreement with the last two popes who have also spoken favourably of it.

But, the devil is in the details, though God can be too. As the provinces and even our Canadian Human Rights legislation and regulations and policy statements wander along finding discrimination under every shrub, their need to pad their own budgets and feelings of self importance seem to take precedence over TRUE human rights, as articulated in the UDHR.

Anonymous said...

Any recent comments? I enjoy the discussion and thought I'd see if you had made any recent posts on the issue recently.

Thanks,

Brian

MBrandon said...

Hi Brian:

Long time no hear.

I responded to your other two comments this morning.

One reason that I have not been commenting on Human Rights issues is that, as I said, I kind of moved along to other things that, rather than disturbing me, would uplift me and I hope my readers.

I was in a car accident a number of years ago and incurred a brain injury. As a result, the only thing in my mind generally is the current thing in my mind. Long term memory is still pretty good, but short term memory, not as much.

I can follow a chain of events or postings, but when they change direction, I cannot find my way back to where I was before. It is out of sight and out of mind, or it is out of sight and I am out of my mind, or maybe my mind is having an out of my body experience.

This is not all bad news, by the way. I meet a lot of interesting people who are friendly to me and know me by name, though I have never met them before. :)

Thank you for stopping by

Michael Brandon