Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quebec Tribunal Finds Discrimination When Jewish Owner Enforces Jewish Practice On Jewish Employees

In Canada, Quebec's Tribunal for Human Rights in a decision last month held that the Jewish owner of a hair salon violated the religious rights of a Jewish employee when she decided that none of the Jewish employees should work on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath.  Hair stylist  Richard Zilberg wanted to include Saturdays in his 6-day work week since this was the busiest day of the week, but Spa Liv Zen owner Iris Gressy prohibited it. Zilberg was fired after he revealed to a client the reason he was no longer available on Saturdays.  In Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights v. 9220-3454 Quebec, Inc., (QCTDP, June 27, 2017), the Tribunal held that this violated Zilberg's rights under Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to equality in employment, freedom of conscience and religion, and dignity and respect for his private life.  According to the Tribunal:
[Zilberg] stated that the Defendants’ decision amounted to a hurtful determination of how he should practice his religion. He felt outraged that the Defendants could ... impose upon him a religious practice that violates his rights to freedom of conscience and religion.
... [H]e felt no less true to his faith because, for various personal reasons, he did not conform to the religious practice of observing the Sabbath; he in fact celebrated other important Jewish holidays with his family.
... Consequently, the interdiction to work on Saturdays imposed upon Mr. Zilberg genuinely affected him as he practiced his religion according to his own personal values.
The Tribunal awarded Zilberg $6,006 in material damages and $4,000 for the moral prejudice he suffered, and $2,500 in punitive damages. Neither Cressy nor her business contested the claims against them and neither were present at the Tribunal hearing. Canadian Press this week reported on the decision.