Awarded $9,000 for being fired while pregnant

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules in favour of woman who worked at realty company branch office in Abbotsford.

A woman has been awarded $9,000 after the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) ruled that she had been wrongly fired from an Abbotsford realty company when she was pregnant.

Kamalpreet Dhillon was awarded $3,000 in lost wages and $6,000 in damages on Thursday (March 28) from Planet Group (Hallmark) Realty Inc.

Dhillon was hired as a receptionist, to be trained in conveyance, at the company’s branch office in Abbotsford in January 2011, according to BCHRT documents.

Shabnam Narayam, operations manager with Planet Group, testified at the BCHRT hearing that she decided at the end of February 2011 that Dhillon was “not the right fit” and advised the owners she should be fired.

She said Dhillon was “not putting 100 per cent” into her training and, on several occasions, arrived at work late and left early.

However, the manager said she could not produce emails corroborating her opinion that Dhillon should be fired because they were lost during a computer crash.

Dhillon informed Narayam on March 14, 2011 that she was pregnant. Dhillon said training she had been receiving in conveyance then stopped.

Narayam said Dhillon continued to have difficulty getting “up to speed” and her colleagues were getting frustrated with her.

Dhillon was fired on May 6 because her position as receptionist was no longer required, according to her termination letter.

“Instead of training her, and supporting her maternity leave, she believed that it was easier for Planet Group to terminate her employment and hire someone who was already trained in conveyance,” stated the BCHRT documents.

Tribunal member Diana Juricevic concluded that Dhillon’s firing was discriminatory.

She said Dhillon did not receive any verbal warnings that she would be fired if she did not improve, nor did she receive any letters of reprimand.

“While I am persuaded that performance issues were a factor in the decision to terminate her employment, I am satisfied that Ms. Dhillon’s pregnancy was also a factor in her termination,” Juricevic stated.