A long service teacher who required accommodations for disability needs was assigned and subsequently disciplined as a result of a variety of concerns. She grieved and was found to have suffered harassment within the meaning of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) and was awarded $20,000 in mental distress damages.
The arbitrator concluded that the investigation was flawed and that sending the teacher home for a protracted period amounted to an act of harassment within the meaning of the Code. The arbitrator found the teacher to have been harassed on the basis of “disability”.
When the Children’s Aid Society is conducting an investigation, school boards are bound to assign the teacher being investigated to home with pay. This case demonstrates the need for school boards to be mindful of the time the teacher spends away from a classroom.