Jeffrey was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child. It is a condition aggravated by stress. In his early years he had to deal with occasional severe epileptic seizures; over time, however, the frequency and severity of these attacks diminished as a result of a program of proper diet, exercise, regular hours of work and a daily intake of prescribed medication. Although there is no cure for epilepsy, Jeffrey had boasted to colleagues and friends that he considered himself essentially “cured,” as he had not experienced the slightest sense of light-headedness (the precursor to an epileptic episode) for several years.
Randall Carstairs was an executive with One-Star Limited, a software company headquartered in Toronto. Jeffrey and Randall had been friends since they were children, and Randall vividly remembered Jeffery’s childhood epileptic attacks, as he witnessed more than one. Notwithstanding Randall’s move to Toronto six years ago, they had remained in touch. Randall had a high regard for Jeffrey’s abilities as a software support specialist and had casually spoken to him over the years about his joining the “One-Star Team” in Toronto. Jeffrey consistently refused to consider any such move. He enjoyed his life in Ottawa and his work at Wizard and was not interested in changing jobs or leaving the city.
In September 2008, One-Star Corporation acquired HealthCare Solutions Inc., the leading provider of software solutions to the health-care marketplace. HealthCare developed a “best of breed” suite of software solutions, and the acquisition of the company dramatically enhanced One-Star’s position in the health-care marketplace. Soon after the acquisition was announced, Randall contacted Jeffrey to advise him of a new job opening at One-Star. The job was on the HealthCare Solutions transition team, focused on transferring the HealthCare suite of software solutions to the One-Star technology environment. Randall indicated that the job would be formally advertised within the next couple of days and urged Jeffery to apply. Randall indicated that although it was only an entry-level position, he was certain the position would be upgraded after the Healthcare Solutions acquisition was completed.
Jeffrey’s instinctive reaction was to again say no, but the job intrigued him. He was familiar with the HealthCare Solutions software and relished the opportunity to have a role in its ongoing development and support. After discussing the matter with his wife, Jeffrey applied for the position. He completed the standard application form and was interviewed for the position by the Director of Human Resources and one other One-Star executive. He was subsequently offered the job and accepted it. One aspect of the process which bothered him later was the false statement he made on the application form that he had an MBA from Queen’s University. Although too embarrassed to correct this misstatement afterwards, he regretted making this exaggerated claim regarding his educational background. One-Star did not find out about his misstatement at the time, as they did not follow up with Queen’s University to confirm that he had received an MBA. The crush of personnel-related activity arising out of the HealthCare Solutions acquisition delayed checking.
Unfortunately, from the very beginning the job with One-Star did not develop as Jeffrey expected. He had difficulty selling his home in Ottawa and had to commute to Toronto every week, leaving his wife at home with the children and the burden of trying to sell the house. As well, the work of the HealthCare Solutions transition team was substantially more difficult than originally contemplated. The stress level was considerable and constant with long work hours and a continuing set of deadlines to meet. The stress was magnified by his weekly commute to and from Ottawa and the difficulty in selling their home. It also became clear that One-Star had no intention of upgrading his position. They were surprised when he mentioned it to them and told him simply to focus on the job at hand. The work of the HealthCare Solutions transition team continued to incur delays, and the stress it was causing Jeffrey became obvious to all. To accelerate the work of the transition team and to reduce the burden on Jeffery, One-Star assigned another software support person to the project to take over certain of Jeffrey’s responsibilities.
Thoroughly disenchanted with his job at One-Star, and with his house in Ottawa still not sold, Jeffrey resigned from One-Star and commenced legal action against the company claiming, among other things, discrimination contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code and a failure by One-Star to provide the “promised job.” One-Star responded by denying these allegations and claiming that, in any event, they had no legal liability to Jeffrey, as he had lied on his application form. One-Star had finally completed their background checks and found out that he had lied about his having an MBA.
Question 1 (i) Identify the prohibited ground of discrimination claimed by Jeffrey.
(ii) Briefly describe the arguments for and against Jeffrey’s claim of discrimination. [4 marks]
Question 2 (i) Identify the nature of the legal claim by Jeffrey concerning One-Star’s alleged failure to provide him with the “promised job.” [1 mark]
(ii) Briefly describe the arguments for and against Jeffrey’s claim of not receiving the “promised job.” [4 marks]
Question 3 (i) Identify the nature of the legal claim by One-Star concerning the false statement by Jeffrey in regard to his having an MBA. [1 mark]
(ii) Briefly describe the arguments for and against One-Star’s position that Jeffrey’s false statement in regard to having an MBA negated any possible legal liability to Jeffrey. [4 marks]