B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rules that age was a factor in roofer getting fired


The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal granted a journeyman roofer, Paul Price, an early Christmas present.

It came in the form of an $11,861.48 award after the tribunal concluded that his employer discriminated against him on the basis of age.

Tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski made the determination on December 23 against Top Line Roofing Ltd.

According to Tyshynski's ruling, Top Line laid off its two oldest journeymen in July 2012, just four months after hit had hired three younger ones.

One of the two who was laid off, Price, was 53 at the time.

"The evidence about the hiring of a younger journeyman and two
apprentices and, shortly thereafter, the lay-off of Mr. Price and [a second man], allowed me to reasonably infer that age was a factor in Mr. Price losing his job," Tyshynski wrote. "Top Line’s evidence was not sufficient to allow me to conclude otherwise."

Price, who represented himself, sought two months wage loss and did not seek any penalty from the company for injury to dignity.

Top Line claimed that Price, along with three other employees, was fired because of "a shortage of work".

Tyshynski rejected the company's allegation that the decision was based on Price's "lack of speed, poor motivation and attitude"—and not his age. 

This was the case even though a Top Line manager testified that the company employs a 60-year-old journeyman and another between 52 and 54, along with nine in their 30s and one in his 20s.

Price worked for the company over a 15-year period and has been in the roofing industry for about 30 years.

"Mr. Price testified that being laid-off at the end of July was very hard on him as all the roofing companies had already hired their summer crew," Tyshynski wrote. "He could not find anything in town. He felt very 'stressed out'."

He ended up finding work in Fort McMurray, which meant he spent a lot of time away from home.

"Mr. Price denies that he had work performance issues," Tyshynski noted. "He testified that he liked roofing. He was skilled. He could do all of it. It was his plan to work until his retirement, probably at around age 63."

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