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Fired for being HIV-positive?

Fired for being HIV-positive?

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Gay man alleges he was fired by Bell subsidiary for getting sick
The BC Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear a complaint from a gay, HIV-positive man who believes he was fired by a subsidiary of communications giant Bell Canada because he has HIV.

Graham Hoye, 40, filed his complaint with the tribunal Feb 10 after he was fired by national telecommunications company Nordia Inc, a joint venture company involving Bell Canada.

On July 25, tribunal member Diana Juricevic issued a letter to Hoye and his former employer, Nordia in Nanaimo, saying the complaint had been accepted as one of potential discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Juricevic writes that Hoye was terminated as a call-centre employee for Nordia after missing several days of training due to illness, despite informing his supervisor he is HIV-positive.

"In my view, Mr Hoye has provided sufficient particulars to support his claim that he has a physical disability, that he was treated adversely in his employment and there is a connection between his physical disability and the adverse treatment," Juricevic writes.

Hoye, who emigrated from the UK in 2002 and is a Canadian citizen, was diagnosed with HIV in 2005.

He says he began work at Nordia in November 2011 and passed three company exams with high marks.

He was then told he had to take a training course in January. If he missed 16 hours, he would be fired, he says Nordia warned him.

On the Sunday of the second week of training, he fell ill with pneumonia and called in sick the two following days.

"They said, 'You have to have an extreme reason or you'll get fired,'" Hoye says. "I said, 'I've got HIV. Is that extreme enough?'"

Despite being ill, he says he promptly delivered a doctor’s note to his supervisors.

"The next day they said, 'You're not coming back to Nordia,'" Hoye alleges.

Hoye says the company wouldn’t give him a reason for terminating his contract, other than his missing 16 hours of training.

Nordia's Nanaimo office could not be reached for comment.

Bell spokesperson Mark Langton says the company can’t comment as the case is before the tribunal.

Micheal Vonn, policy director at the BC Civil Liberties Association, says the case, though only in its preliminary stages, may be similar to those of women being fired for becoming pregnant.

"Sometimes we need to be reminded what the law is," Vonn says.

Vonn says employers have a duty to accommodate their employees’ disabilities, even if that constitutes a hardship for the company.

In the case of a large company, though, it becomes more difficult to claim a hardship, Vonn notes.

"The evidence in these cases can be complex,” Vonn acknowledges.

But the standard is clear, she says. "There's a lot of 'what year is it anyway' going on."

Tribunal spokesperson Steve Adamson tells Xtra the case is not yet set for a hearing, so neither the complaint nor the company’s response can be publicly distributed.

Hoye says Nordia has not yet filed a response with the tribunal.

Hoye says he has asked for a settlement but wants people to know about the case and his alleged mistreatment. "They're not going to treat me like this," he says.

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Comments

shame
Reading through these comments , I truly support Graham for being so BOLD to actually take on a HUGE co orporation as we all know this company is getting too big and taking over the networks!! Yes he should sue!! This company had the resources to prevent this and chose not to as they cheaped out on a contractor!! Train your staff with the HUMAN RIGHTS code and this will not happen again!!

Discrimination is NOT VALID!!!

Oh and Marc/Ruthgard/Bjorn............people are bored of your comments dude!!!

Justin
Ummmm
I'm 42 and work and love my job, what are you talking about??????????????????
Grenn eyed uneducated Rutgard/Bjorn
Ok dude , you clearly have not been educated have you!!! I think that Graham did what he saw fit as the tribunal has found grounds to pursue this and also found the company at fault. Your comments reek green eyed and you sound so bitter!! I strongly suggest you think about what you write as you make yourself look absolutely pitiful !

Graham good luck with the case and ignore negative comments!!

Pete
Huh...
Let me bring YOU up to speed Thomas, I know EXACTLY who this person is, let's just say he is very 'popular' in Vancouver, not many on the gay scene here WOULDN'T recognise him, working in various bathouses, always in the bars. And everything he is 'going through? Well, he brings upon himself, including his HIV. This company, as mine was, is well rid. You wanna talk couch potato - that's Hoye's biggest aspiration in life; expects society owes him a living, whether he's sick or not and he uses his illness in the worst way possible.
What the f***?
Ok all you couch potatoes, it's time to exercise. It's clear many of you haven't walked a mile in his shoes, nor exercised your mind while in the confines of your virtual world as you type emotional based judgments on a person and subject you know little about or nothing at all. Let's bring you up to speed. I suggest you visit the BC Human Rights Tribunal website first before making statements on what constitutes the law. HIV is considered a Physical Disability which is one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination. The "Malin" case I've provided a link to may put things into perspective. http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/decisions/2012/pdf/may/158_Malin_v_Ultra_Care_and_another_No_2_2012_BCHRT_158.pdf There are avenues to resolve issues within some organizations, where one is already an employee but in this case it seems the logical course of action is that which Graham has taken. Where there is a lack of information or an extreme ignorance to any subject matter, one has only their emotions (fear,anger etc)to form an opinion. We're all human and wee all do it at some point in our lives. The Tribunal has a system in which they can examine the facts and help the parties come to an agreement, long before a hearing is set. As for the company's policy on missing 16 hours (2 days) of training and you MAY be fired (other than extreme circumstances)is there not only to protect themselves from letting people go but for maintaining structure that provides equal opportunity to everyone. It can be difficult and costly in many cases to provide (by having to reschedule) the necessary training to bring the incumbent up to speed in order to do the job successfully. It's no secret that any employer would not want be faced with the prospect of dealing with what is required when an accommodation is requested. There is a requirement to provide it up to a point defined as "undo hardship". There would be no better time for the emplo
Word of the day: malingering
It sounds like he's malingering. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malingering
Phhh...
This completely smacks of 'chancer' to me; there is obviously a lot not being said here. It sounds like the company wanted rid of him anyway, for what company forewarns someone of being sacked if they don't show up for training unless they expected it? Judging by Hoye's quotes, not to mention the photograph, not the smartest cookie in the box, by ANY means... and what... a telemarketing job? Not to demean people who do that, but it kind of says it all. And what exactly does corporate greed have to do with anything? How are they being greedy? Treated like what? Not pandering to his take, take, take attitude? No, this is clearly a woe is me, everybody else is at fault, attitude. I say again, phhh.... I really do not believe he was fired for being HIV... after all, any reputable company does not do that. Really, this is news X-tra West?
I'm sorry Graham
I'm sorry Graham, this should never have happened to you. It was unfair and unethical, it was also illegal. As you know HIV is a recognized disability, and discrimination is rife.

I admire you for not only filing but for publicizing this. You are very brave. Nothing will change unless people assert their rights.

Well done!

You can be proud of what you've done and know that you have contributed to helping everyone with disabilities realize their rights as Canadians.
Grow up
As someone that used to live in downtown Vancouver for 14 years, what is it about the gay guys there that once they turn 40 they really don't want to work anymore and expect to have things handed to them and their job to go a certain way or they will sue? I have never seen a city so riddled with people that go on disability for every little thing, in the real world you pull through, you don't usually have so many benefits from different directions to fall back on. That bubble will eventually burst and in the meanwhile the rest of us are paying for it. And before you throw flames at me, I too am HIV Positive and have had many challenges that are called being a part of life. We are really only hearing one side of the story here. And why the publicity for it? Sounds a bit old school whining and yet another slow news week in Vancouver. No wonder Xtra is in trouble.
Remarks
To everybody who has commented, I thank-you for taking the time to read it!

I followed guidelines as best to my knowledge. I also know that I cannot be fired when I was asked to produce a note stating my sickness! And yes we all know when somebody with HIV gets a cold there is a possibility of pneumonia as this was in my case!!!

The point is it should not have happened!! This is 2012 and I will not be bullied by cooperate greed! And yes,lets see what the LAW decides shall we!

Regards

Graham Hoye

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