I mentioned (once or twice) that Bernd Walter, chair of the Human Rights Tribunal, stated that I was fired with cause for not delivering newspapers. I also mentioned that the employer signed an affidavit that this was not the case, and Walter also had evidence that I had offered to deliver the papers with the carrier, so that I would not be stealing an eight-year-old’s job, or even worse, the job of a person with a disability. Many of our carriers were adults living with learning disabilities who clearly deserve their pay cheques.
However, that was not the only minor fib in the report. Walter was also untruthful about the time period between my being fired for no good reason and a reporter with only six months experience being appointed to my job. He said it was a month even though I had stated that I had learned about it through the grapevine only two weeks after I had been fired.
It would appear that the lack of a reason for the termination and the immediate appointment of a substantially less qualified individual was what was required to establish that there was a prima facie case for discrimination. Otherwise, why pick these two things to lie about?
It’s pretty bad when you can establish a prima facie case by examining what the tribunal chooses to lie about.
However, outright lies aren’t the only way that tribunals dismiss valid cases. I think I have enough experience to establish some patterns. For one thing, they will simply not mention facts that are central to your case. Sometimes they will avoid noticing entire documents. They also twist what happened to make it reflect poorly on the employee, rather than the employer (hence the newspaper delivery scandal). They will also report background information and pretend that’s the thing you identified as discriminatory. Let me give you an example, to show you what I mean:
Mary says she accidentally broke the photocopier and entered her boss’s office to tell him. When he heard the news the boss, called her a “dumb blonde.”
The Tribunal would then report this as, the boss got upset with Mary for breaking the photocopier. No mention will be made of the “dumb blonde” comment and, of course, the Tribunal will say that the incident was not discriminatory.
In fact, in my analysis of cases for my book, I’m focused on this very type of thing as this is the easiest way to determine if the Tribunal is lying or trying to obfuscate the facts. I’m trying to find cases, where the thing alleged, or the tone in which an incident is recounted in the decision, reflects poorly on the employee and the event, out of context, doesn’t seem to be discriminatory.
It’s quite possible if you scratch the surface you’ll uncover a lie and a valid case that was unfairly dismissed.