Man said he suffered from trauma due to a hostile workplace
A Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry has handed down an award of nearly $600,000 to a former Metro Transit bus garage worker after finding he was the victim of racial harassment and discrimination by management and co-workers.
The inquiry heard that Y.Z., a mechanic, was targeted with verbal racial slurs, graffiti in the washroom, vandalism of tools and assault between 2002 and 2007. A bus was used to terrorize him by brushing past him.
Y.Z., who is white, is married to a black woman. He told the inquiry his marriage made him the focus of racial taunting.
A psychologist told the inquiry that Y.Z. has been diagnosed as having somatic symptom disorder, major depressive disorder and PTSD.
‘Bad Place Physically and Psychologically’
The psychologist, Myles Genest, said there are “no grounds to suggest [Y.Z.] would be experiencing his current disabling conditions were it not for his experience of negative work environment and threat to his safety in the workplace.”
[Y.Z.’s] in “such a bad place physically and psychologically that it almost has a life of its own now,” the psychologist told the inquiry.
In 2007, the former Metro Transit worker attempted suicide and since then has been “largely housebound” due to his fear of encountering employees from the bus garage.
The lawyer for Y.Z., Bruce Evans, told the inquiry that his client continues to suffer the psychological impact of discrimination to this day.
His wife regards him as “broken” and his son says he “died” 12 years ago when he tried to take his own life. Y.Z.’s wife suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to work for two years.
Lawyer Sought Higher Award
The $593,507 award provides $105,650 in general damages to Y.Z. and $433,077 for past and future lost income. There’s also an award of $21,675 for future care and $33,015 for pain and suffering for Y.Z.’s wife.
Evans was claiming $950,000 in compensation for his client for past and future loss of income. But the award was cut in half, in part because Y.Z. did not accept a transfer to another facility, according to the decision. Y.Z. had told the inquiry “the people who were causing the problems were the ones who should be forced to leave and not him.”