Tribunal awards $20,000 to employee fired after cancer diagnosis

TORONTO, July 13 /CNW/ - Still reeling from the news that she had breast cancer, Elsa Torrejon was shocked when her employer told her not to bother coming back to work.

Yesterday the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ordered the Weston Property Management Corporation to pay Ms. Torrejon over $20,000 in general damages and lost wages. The Tribunal also ordered the company to learn about Ontario's Human Rights Code and report back to the Tribunal when the training has been completed.

"It still hurts me, what they did. And I don't want it to happen to anyone else. I am a survivor and I'm still fighting," said Torrejon.

Michelle Mulgrave, Ms. Torrejon's lawyer from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre said, "This case is about kicking someone when they are down. If an employee has an illness the employer's first action, after a compassionate response, should be a review of their legal responsibilities under Ontario's Human Rights Code."

Ms. Torrejon's doctor wrote a report to the Tribunal in which she stated "Ms. Torrejon is an intelligent, resourceful, capable woman who felt assaulted emotionally/psychologically by the actions of the same people at work from whom she expected an empathic and sympathetic response at a time of extreme vulnerability."

Vice Chair Naomi Overend of the Human Rights Tribunal found that Weston "acted upon this mistaken belief that it could terminate the employment of the applicant, who was going to require time off work for surgery and treatment, without regard to whether or not her disability-related absence could be accommodated."

SOURCE Human Rights Legal Support Centre

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews: Jennifer Ramsay, Human Rights Legal Support Centre, 416-326-7253, mobile: 416-522-5931

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