'Overqualified' man wins compensation review

India-born scientist seeking lost wages for entry-level job

A Federal Court Justice has ordered the Canadian Human Rights tribunal to reconsider compensation awarded to an India-born scientist denied a job because he was overqualified.

In 2006, the tribunal found environmental scientist Gian Singh Sangha had been discriminated against in 2001 when the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board in the Northwest Territories turned him down for an entry-level job.

He was awarded $9,500 for pain and suffering, but the tribunal rejected his claims for lost wages and to be given the job.

Sangha, who lives in Surrey, B.C., is seeking more than $100,000 in lost wages, claiming had he been given the job he would have worked for the water board for at least three years.

Instead, for the past six years the former Punjab Agricultural University professor, who earned his PhD from a German university, worked as a landscape gardener and then as a bookkeeper for Gill Electric Co.

Sangha, the only candidate with a doctoral degree, had some of the highest interview scores of all the applicants for the job as a regulatory officer with the water board.

The tribunal heard how one member of the interviewing committee felt that Sangha would soon become bored with job and leave and that the committee unanimously decided not to make him an offer.

In his ruling Justice Yves de Montigny said the tribunal erred in concluding that Sangha had "not met the threshold of showing that there was not just a mere possibility of acquiring the job but a serious one."

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