Chris Hughes has won a Human Rights Tribunal case after being denied a job when he admitted to suffering from depression. (Facebook)

Chris Hughes has won a Human Rights Tribunal case after being denied a job when he admitted to suffering from depression. (Facebook)

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Victoria man be given a full-time job, and compensation that could reach $500,000, from Transport Canada.

The tribunal ruled Chris Hughes faced discrimination after he was denied a position in 2006, after telling interviewers he had experienced depression.

He learned of the decision in early June.

Hughes said he had done well in preliminary tests and interviews for a marine intelligence officer position with Transport Canada, getting 91 per cent on a knowledge test and acing an hour-long interview with a panel board.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” Hughes said. “But I felt good about it.”

Hughes said the next step was to look at references, which he deliberately left blank because of past problems with his employer. He previously worked for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, now known as the Canada Revenue Agency, and the Canada Border Services Agency.

“I explained to TC that I was a whistle-blower,” Hughes said.

ALSO READ: BCTF files human rights complaint against B.C. school trustee over LGBTQ comments

Hughes had filed two internal complaints, one while working on the revenue side of the agency, and one while working for the border services branch.

After filing these complaints in 2000, Hughes said he faced “retaliatory reactions” that made his work life “hostile and toxic” for the next five years before he was forced to resign.

As a consequence of the job loss, Hughes became depressed and was forced to liquefy assets in order to survive.

“I told [Transport Canada] that I had become sick from the reprisals by CRA and CBSA, and had to take time off work and that Health Canada was involved,” Hughes said. “They really didn’t seem put off at all.”

Hughes said he had offered other referrals, and performance reviews from the CRA and CBSA, and that Transport Canada seemed fine with those alternatives.

“Then they called me and told me I had failed,” he said.

Hughes said he then struggled to find work, and would end up couch-surfing and taking up contract jobs to make ends meet.

In June 2006, he filed a public service commission staffing complaint to get copies of the board notes, which revealed that references weren’t necessary to pass if the interview was strong enough.

However, it wasn’t until 2013 when Hughes was able to see the original copies of the interview lead sheets that he realized his interview notes had been altered. The finding led to a case with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, where decisions are split between a liability and a remedy hearing. The liability decision came out in 2014 and was in Hughes’s favour, but was then set aside by a federal judge, and appealed, and then reinstated.

The delay in the process led to a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, which only added to the complexity.

“In 2009, I did a privacy request to see what was going on,” Hughes said. “The privacy co-ordinator said it would take four years to process because there were 30,000 documents.”

This month, the remedy decision was announced: Hughes would be hired as a marine intelligence officer, and be paid for five years of missed payment, which he estimated would be near $500,000, including pensions and benefits.

ALSO READ: B.C. university student’s diaper fetish now a human rights issue

When reached for comment, Transport Canada said via email:

“Transport Canada is reviewing the remedies decision; the department is not in a position to provide more information on personnel matters.”

ALSO READ: B.C. university student’s diaper fetish now a human rights issue

Hughes said he has mixed feelings about the results, saying it took far too long, and that he doesn’t understand why only five of the 12 years were covered. He also has not seen any dates as to when the job or funding will come through.

“Until I’m hired, I’ve asked to have leave with pay now so I can have my health and dental back,” he said. “I’ve also asked that they immediately pay $200,000 so I can repay my debts.”



nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

Transport Canada

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

Just Posted

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

These two city-owned houses on Railway Avenue in the Railtown district will be sold. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
City of Nelson will sell two derelict houses in Railtown

Purchasers will be responsible for demolition and slope stability issues

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read