Human Rights Tribunal Green Lights Cardinal's case against Cleveland Major League Baseball Team

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal green lights discrimination case against
Cleveland major league baseball team name and logo.

TORONTO, June 5, 2017 /CNW/ - The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has rejected Major League Baseball, the Cleveland major league team, and Rogers Communications' attempt to have First Nations Elder Douglas Cardinal's discrimination claim against them thrown out on jurisdictional grounds. (The ruling can be read in full by clicking here.) Cardinal argues that use of the Cleveland team name and "Chief Wahoo" logo during games played at Toronto's Rogers Centre constitutes discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

"As an Indigenous person, I am encouraged that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has accepted jurisdiction over my complaint and agrees that it can proceed to a hearing," Mr. Cardinal said. "Unfortunately, the consciousness of genocide and apartheid continues to be fostered by the insensitive use of demeaning and degrading symbols, mocking indigenous peoples. This must cease in order for reconciliation to have any meaning and substance."

MLB, the Cleveland team, and Rogers made numerous arguments in an attempt to have the matter dismissed. Among other things, they argued that the tribunal lacks jurisdiction, that Mr. Cardinal was pursuing his claim under the wrong law, and that since he's brought a similar complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Tribunal should stand down.

The tribunal rejected the validity of MLB, Cleveland, and Rogers' arguments and agreed with Lenczner Slaght partners Rebecca Jones and Paul-Erik Veel that the case should proceed.

About Lenczner Slaght

Lenczner Slaght is widely recognized as Canada's leading litigation practice and has successfully represented clients' interests in complex, high-profile cases across the country. The firm's lawyers are distinguished by their depth of court room experience, appearing regularly at all levels of the federal and provincial courts and before professional and regulatory tribunals, as well as in mediation and arbitration proceedings.

The firm is known for its wealth of talent. Its partners, ranked among the best of their peers nationally, lead a recruitment and mentoring program that attracts gifted litigators who are committed to upholding the highest professional standards. From commercial disputes, class actions and cross-border disputes to administrative law and professional regulation, Lenczner Slaght brings expert strategy – backed by rigorous research, skilled data management and solid administrative support – to demanding cases in all areas of litigation.

Note to Editors: Timing for the next step in this proceeding must await the resolutions of questions related to the schedule of proceedings in a related complaint brought before the Canadian Human Rights Commission. 

SOURCE Lenczner Slaght

For further information: Media Contacts: Adhi Reza, Coordinator, Marketing and Business Development, 416-865-9500 ext 363,; Joe Householder, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 202-944-3373,


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