Autistic woman wins human rights complaint against Canada Po

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Tory_canuck
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20 Aug 2009, 11:06 pm

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/ ... b960b602e7

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Autistic woman wins human rights complaint against Canada Post

In what's believed to be its first autism-related case, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has upheld a complaint against Canada Post by a former Montreal mail carrier.

By Ottawa CitizenOctober 7, 2008
StoryPhotos ( 1 )

OTTAWA - In what’s believed to be its first autism-related case, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has upheld a complaint against Canada Post by a former Montreal mail carrier.

In a ruling released Monday, the tribunal said Canada Post violated the Canadian Human Rights Act by failing to accommodate Michelle Dawson’s disability and by allowing management staff to harass her.

The decision requires Canada Post to work with the Canadian Human Rights Commission to modify its harassment, discrimination and accommodation policies to conform with the Human Rights Act. It also directs Canada Post to conduct “workplace equity, accommodation and sensitivity training” for managers and staff, with a particular focus on autism.

But because Dawson didn’t seek remedial measures, the tribunal did not order Canada Post to reinstate her in her job or pay any fines or compensation.

Dawson, 47, who has been receiving disability benefits since 2003, has become an internationally known researcher and writer on autism issues. She was diagnosed with autism in the early 1990s.

She couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. But on her blog, autismcrisis.blogspot.com, she wrote that the decision “is entirely good for autistics in Canada.

“It is unprecedented in establishing under a human rights law in Canada that autistics . . . are human beings with human rights.”

Dawson started working at Canada Post in 1988 and was widely seen as an exemplary employee. But everything went downhill after she disclosed her diagnosis to Canada Post in April 1999, she testified.

After she appeared at work in July 1999 with self-inflicted wounds - a behaviour often seen among those with autism - some employees felt threatened and sent a letter of concern to management.

Dawson testified that Canada Post treated her as a non-person and acted as if autistic people were bizarre, difficult and unable to speak for themselves.

She also accused specific employees of making discriminatory and harassing comments to her, including one who asserted she had mutilated herself in front of her co-workers.

The tribunal found those remarks to be discriminatory because they “brand Dawson as a violent person in relation to her disability, a perception which is totally, given the evidence, gratuitous.”

It also found that Canada Post managers were guilty of harassment for pressuring Dawson to submit to an independent medical evaluation.

The tribunal said it was “disturbing” that autistic people were seen as a threat to the safety of others and “some form of nuisance in the workplace.” They need to be reassured, it said, that employers will do “everything possible short of undue hardship” to dispel such misconceptions among their employees.

“It goes to the right of autistic individuals to be treated equally, with dignity and respect, free of any discrimination or harassment related to their condition.”

Canada Post spokesman John Caines said management will “work with our human rights group” to ensure the proper follow-up occurs in response to the ruling.


© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.


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Eternal_Saber
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21 Aug 2009, 12:51 am

Another win for us!! YAY!! ! ^_^



Michael_Stuart
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21 Aug 2009, 1:53 am

Tory_canuck wrote:
with self-inflicted wounds - a behaviour often seen among those with autism -


I'm not entirely sure if that's the right wording they used.

But otherwise, it's all good. Justice triumphs once again, and all that.



sinsboldly
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21 Aug 2009, 2:02 am

I loved the delicate irony of her not sueing for damages. She wanted to make a point and it looks like she made a good one.


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Tory_canuck
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22 Aug 2009, 12:52 am

This sets a good precedent when it comes to case law and jurisprudence wherefore indicating that aspies are protected by law from discrimination.


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ChangelingGirl
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22 Aug 2009, 3:36 am

What is this with old news topics popping up as if they were recent? I thought this decision had come out months ago already, or am I wrong?



EarlPurple
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26 Aug 2009, 3:13 pm

won what exactly?

How did this save her or other aspies from similar treatment?



Tory_canuck
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27 Aug 2009, 2:51 am

ChangelingGirl wrote:
What is this with old news topics popping up as if they were recent? I thought this decision had come out months ago already, or am I wrong?


I was googling legal issues with respect to autism and aspergers.I also read a well known Canadian law site with various legal rulings and precedents.


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Tory_canuck
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27 Aug 2009, 3:30 am

The ruling on this case...


Home > Federal > Canadian Human Rights Tribunal > 2008 CHRT 41 (CanLII)
[long link disrupting page layout edited by lau]


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