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WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION - Dismissal - Duty of reasonable accommodation

Monday, March 04, 2019 @ 9:24 AM  

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Appeal by Haghir from the dismissal of his application for judicial review of the University of Saskatchewan Appeal Board’s decision that confirmed his termination from the neurology program. In 2009, the appellant, who trained as a physician in Iran, was granted admission to the neurology program at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine. After it was discovered the appellant had a conviction for shoplifting, the appellant undertook, as part of his admission, to continue under the care of a psychiatrist and agreed not to commit any further violations of the Criminal Code. In 2012, the appellant was accused of attempting to steal books from the University bookstore. No criminal charges were laid but the University of Saskatchewan Senate Hearing found him responsible and sanctioned him. The College of Medicine investigated and eventually terminated the appellant’s membership in the neurology program. The Appeal Board determined the College of Medicine had met its duty to accommodate the appellant’s mental health disability. The chambers judge found the Appeal Board’s determination was reasonable.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Appeal Board reasonably refused to accept post-termination medical evidence proffered by the appellant. The chambers judge did not correctly apply the standard of reasonableness to the Appeal Board’s decision. The chambers judge overlooked the Appeal Board’s lack of consideration of the law with respect to accommodation. The chambers judge upheld the Appeal Board’s decision by applying the law of accommodation and in doing so erred by reassessing the evidence and making key findings of fact that were not made by the Appeal Board. The chambers judge erred by failing to recognize that material admissible evidence, including evidence that the appellant suffered from a mental disorder of which the College was aware, and evidence related to the appellant’s recidivism, was overlooked, disregarded or misinterpreted by the Appeal Board. The Appeal Board’s decision was unreasonable as it did not consider whether the College had fulfilled its duty to accommodate the appellant. The matter was remitted back to the Appeal Board for redetermination.

Haghir v. University of Saskatchewan, [2019] S.J. No. 34, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, G.R. Jackson, P.A. Whitmore and J.A. Ryan-Froslie JJ.A., January 30, 2019. Digest No. TLD-March42019003