Photo by Tom Zytaruk

Surrey court clerk files human rights complaint related to concussion

Deborah A. Ryane claims her employer discriminated against her on basis of mental disability

A Surrey provincial court clerk has lodged a human rights complaint alleging she was discriminated against in her employment on the basis of a mental disability.

Deborah A. Ryane filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The respondents are the Queen, Surrey Provincial Court Services, Laura Singer and Katharine Morrison.

The Tribunal heard Ryane began working in a new location several months after an accident that left her with a severe concussion. She had been hit by a car and was thrown off her bicycle on May 11, 2016, resulting in short-term memory issues, difficulty focusing, anxiety and depression.

She alleges that Court Services didn’t accommodate her disability, resulting in her needing to take a medical leave of absence.

She claims Morrison, as a manager at Surrey provincial court, and Singer, as a senior manager there, discriminated against her. They deny the accusation and applied to have Ryane’s complaint dismissed. None of the claims have yet been proven or disproven in a hearing before the tribunal.

Tribunal member Norman Trerise heard that Ryane began working as a clerk at the Vancouver Law Courts on Nov. 15, 2011 and on Nov. 18, 2015 had advised Singer she wished to apply for a transfer to Surrey provincial court as she had friends in White Rock and wanted to be closer to her son, who was in the navy. Conversely, Ryane said she did not say she wanted to be in Surrey but wanted to leave downtown Vancouver because she afraid of being hit by another car and no longer felt comfortable riding her bike to and from work there.

READ ALSO: Publication ban lifted on transgender complainant’s name in Surrey waxing dispute

READ ALSO: Human rights complaint about Costco backpack search dismissed

READ ALSO: Woman files human rights complaint against former Surrey employer, alleging racial discrimination

She was granted a “suitability” interview on Sept. 9, 2016. The respondents claim she didn’t tell the interviewers she had cognitive disabilities that would limit or restrict her job duties.

“They say that Ms. Singer advised that Surrey provincial court was a busy, high-volume court but that Ms. Ryane advised that she loved a challenge and would have no issue with the volume of work at Surrey court because she enjoyed being busy,” Trerise noted in his July 19 reasons for decision.

Ryane claimed she was provided with no training in performing her new job in Surrey and that the resulting pressure resulted in her needing to take a medical leave of absence in the spring of 2017. The respondents, on the other hand, claim she received numerous training days.

The Tribunal heard that a doctor’s certificate in March 2017 stated Ryane was unable to return to Surrey provincial court because of her medical condition but she could return to work on May 29, 2017 at a different courthouse such as Kamloops.

Ryane claimed the respondents were responsible for a delay in paperwork that resulted in her not returning to work until she learned of a position in Kamloops on June 29, 2018.

The respondents maintain they were not responsible for the delay.

Trerise decided to deny the respondents’ application to have dismissed Ryane’s allegations that Surrey provincial court services failed to accommodate her move to the Surrey court by failing to provide suitable training. Conversely, he also dismissed Ryane’s complaint that Surrey Provincial Court Services and Singer discriminated against her by delaying her return to work.

“This decision should not be taken as a finding that the complaint is likely to succeed on the remaining issue at the hearing of this matter,” Trerise noted. “I would suggest that the parties avail themselves of the Tribunal’s mediation processes and attempt to resolve this issue prior to hearing.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Person in serious condition after potential drowning in Abbotsford

Individual airlifted after incident at a home on Tuesday afternoon

Gangster Jarrod Bacon released from prison for third time

Parole board continues to express concerns about Bacon’s behaviour

UPDATE: Charges laid after boy, 7, allegedly abducted by mom in Abbotsford

Child returned to dad in Langley, charges now laid against mom and partner

Drive-Thru Safari a success for Abbotsford Agrifair

Organizers state that over 1,250 vehicles took in the event over the weekend

Banter ice cream shop arrives in Abbotsford

Jubilee Park location has proven popular for new establishment

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read