Nova Scotia school board employee wins $65,000 for forced retirement

Co-ordinator didn’t want to retire at 65 but board made him, leaving him feeling ‘betrayed’

A Nova Scotia school board must pay almost $65,000 to a former employee it forced to retire when he turned 65 after an independent board of inquiry found the school board discriminated against him.

Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP), a French-language school board operating in Nova Scotia, forced Robert Theriault to retire from his position as a co-ordinator of operations in 2005 when he turned 65. Theriault said he was “crushed” by the CSAP’s decision and filed a human rights complaint for discrimination based on age.

The complaint progressed to the board of inquiry, which is the final stage in the human rights process. The board ruled in 2008 that Theriault was discriminated against. In November 2009, it followed up the ruling by awarding Theriault $64,515 for financial losses and general damages resulting from the discrimination.

“(Theriault’s) mandatory retirement by the CSAP deprived him of the dignity of being involved in the choosing of the time of his retirement,” said Don Murray, chair of the board of inquiry. “Mr. Theriault was deprived of the ability to participate in a decision about a significant and central part of his life.”

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission applauded the decision.

“It is gratifying to see that the board chair found age discrimination is no different than any other discrimination,” said Krista Daley, CEO of the commission, in a release. “Whenever a person is affected by decisions that are based on irrelevant personal characteristics, there is harm done."

Nova Scotia legislated a ban on mandatory retirement in early 2009.

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