Employers need to scrutinize all job testing for human rights violations, Supreme Court rules

By Lesley Young
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/24/2003

Discrimination is discrimination, no matter whether it’s direct or indirect. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada restored a British Columbia woman’s position as a firefighter, ruling a provincial physical fitness test discriminated against women.

Tawney Meiorin, 33, lost her job with the B.C. Ministry of Forests in 1995 because she took 49.4 seconds too long to complete a 2.5-kilometre run, a component of the provincial firefighting test.

Canadian employers with any form of discriminatory job testing rules must now be prepared to prove in court that they are a bona fide job requirement. Before, only direct discrimination had to stand up to the rigorous courtroom test to prove a bona fide requirement.