Business & Finance

CIBC forced to pay former employee who claimed anti-straight discrimination

Former CIBC employee, Aaren Jagadeesh, claims he was told by his manager that male promotions were reserved for either gay or bisexual men.

Joseph Fang Toronto, Ontario
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Former employee Aaren Jagadeesh was paid $3,332.30 by CIBC after claiming he was told by his manager that male promotions were reserved for either gay or bisexual men.

Jagadeesh’s case was evaluated by The Canadian Human Rights Commission, who the federal court of Canada ruled, inappropriately dropped his case. They instructed the commission to start a new investigation and a reassessment.

Jagadeesh had been refused promotions multiple times while working at the Toronto branch. He was a financial services representative. He said that his “mental stress and self-dignity” was impacted by not being treated equally.

Jagadeesh’s position demanded that he call around 60 to 70 customers per day, reading things like product information along with legal disclosures. He started to experience throat and vocal chord problems. After his doctor suggested his responsibilities be altered to accommodate his condition, Jagadeesh was instead urged to go on short-term disability. He was later diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia by a specialist and told to take consistent breaks to encourage his recovery.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Jagadeesh said that the bank took away his bonuses along with his incentives. Jagadeesh felt that his original conversation with his manager about sexual preference “was the primary reason for his discrimination and explained why, despite his qualifications, experience, and excellent performance, he was denied workplace accommodation for his disability, and not offered any alternative position,” said Justice Janet M. Fuhrer

He filed his complaint after being fired in May of 2016. It was a human rights complaint alleging discrimination from CIBC due to disability as well as sexual preference.

An initial investigation was started by the Human Rights Commission which interviewed CIBC employees, but not the manager that Jagadeesh had had the initial talk with (about sexual preference-based promotion). The manager was on an “extended leave of absence.” Jagadeesh’s complaints were dismissed in November.

Jagadeesh represented himself in an appeal to the federal court. He wanted a review of the original decision made by the commission. Fuhrer ordered that the commission redo the case with a new investigator in September, due to the unfair treatment of Jagadeesh’s original investigation.

Jagadeesh said that his expenses for representing himself were $438.10, while CIBC’s were over $5000. Jagadeesh asked CIBC to pay him $6,646.57 for his troubles.

On November 19, Fuhrer ruled, “Self-represented litigants are eligible for a moderate allowance above the costs of their direct disbursements to reflect the time and effort they devoted to preparing and presenting their case.”

CIBC commented, “While we are unable to comment as the matter is still before the commission, no form of harassment or discrimination is acceptable at our bank.”

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