A Montreal-area trucking company has paid the price for having a well-entrenched policy of refusing to hire female truck drivers. The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ordered Bernard Wolinsky, owner of Laurentian Shavings Products Inc. and Lanjay Peat Moss Inc., to pay $10,000 to a female truck driver for discrimination.
The Tribunal, which found that Wolinsky refused to consider the complainant’s application because she was a woman, held that her right to be treated with equality and dignity had been breached. She was awarded $7,000 in moral damages, and $3,000 in punitive damages.
The complainant, answering a classified advertisement, dropped off her curriculum vitae at the company’s headquarters. As the complainant was shown into Mr. Wolinsky’s office, he told her that he did not hire women. He did not interview her even though she had five years experience working part-time for a number of transportation companies.
According to the evidence before the Tribunal, Wolinsky told her: “We don’t take women here. It’s very difficult for a woman to remove the snow from the roof of the trailers.” When informed by a Human Rights Commission investigator that a complaint was lodged against him, Wolinsky replied: “I don’t hire women. It is my prerogative.”
In 2009-2010, the Human Rights Commission investigated 52 files of sex discrimination, 35 of which were related to employment, and several involved women’s access to non-traditional jobs.