Monday, November 9, 2009

Truth Is Trouble - A Pregnant Pause

Jessica Maciel and Fashion Coiffures Ltd. and Crystal Coiffures Ltd.

I saw an ad for a show called The Foundation TV Show recently, and that is all I know about the show. In the ad one actor says: "Truth is trouble", and it stuck with me.

A young girl applying for her first job after completing a diploma course from Metropolitan College, got hired as a receptionist for 2 beauty salons in Erin Mills Town Centre about August 1, 2008. Miraculously, on August 9, 2008 her first day of work, she turned up for work and was 4 months pregnant. She told her new employer that she was pregnant when she started work, and was summarily dismissed.

She lied by omission, which she was allowed to do by law, as I understand. The employers tale of what happened was not believed by the Ontario HRT. It was unable to hold water, though Ms. Maciel would have been unable to hold her own water a few months into her job.

The HRT says that the salons discriminated against Ms. Maciel on the basis of sex. Clearly she had engaged in sex, resulting in the baby on the way. That was very much in evidence and getting more so.

The salons had presumably bypassed other qualified applicants, since there is really no qualification requirement for a receptionist job at a salon, to hire Ms. Maciel. And by law, you are allowed to dismiss without cause in Ontario, new employees who have not completed a probation period, which is currently legally 3 months, again as I understand.

However, you can't dismiss a protected one like a pregnant one, a disabled one, or a gay one, or a black or yellow skinned one, not a Muslim one, or a Jew, though you can turf a Christian.

Truth is trouble, isn't it? She omits to tell her employer an important detail about her short term availability to work, which means that they will have to train another person to do the work while she is away on maternity leave, while having to protect her job for her return, which is a more difficult task to fill. They then play loose with the truth about why she was let go, because the real truth won't fly in kangaroo court.

The result: $35,000 for one hour's work. I wonder if Jessica Maciel can hold her head up. She can certainly afford to.

We are a society so used to stretching the truth, that the truth has become troublesome.

The case decision is here.

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