Lawyer salary

Former Hamilton Catholic Children’s Aid Society lawyer files human rights complaint

A lawyer who worked for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton filed a human rights complaint alleging he had been discriminated against after disclosing that he was gay.

The former in-house attorney, who The Spectator is not currently naming because he says he fears retaliation in his career, worked for the Hamilton child protection agency for seven years. In a recent application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, he says he felt compelled to quit and give up a career he loved because of the discrimination.

The application names the former Hamilton CCAS executive director, senior legal counsel and board chair. He is claiming $150,000, which includes the amount of his annual salary and $34,000 in damages.

However, in an interview with The Spectator, the lawyer said the real purpose of his candidacy was “to be accountable and to really shine a light on an issue for communities that don’t have a voice…that have a oppressed voice”.

In an emailed statement to The Spectator, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton said it was “both surprised and saddened” by the request.

“We strongly contest and will vigorously defend these allegations, which do not accurately describe the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CCASH), our practices or our values. CCASH is confident in the agency’s success.

CCASH said it has demonstrated its commitment to an equitable, inclusive and diverse workplace.

The child protection agency said it intended to formally respond to the HRTO’s request by September 19. It is early in the court process and it is not yet known whether the case will go to trial.

None of the allegations have been proven.

According to the application, the lawyer worked for the child protection agency for seven years and was well respected. He often spoke at conferences and was actively involved in the community.

In early 2021, a friend encouraged the lawyer to join the LGBTQ2S+ task force of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) – the association that oversees all CAS agencies in Ontario .

According to the HRTO’s request, the attorney spoke to the executive director of CCAS, who told him he needed to “go out” to his supervisor and ask permission. The attorney said that in the past, his supervisor had objected to him joining a committee without telling him, so he felt he needed to talk to him before joining the task force. But when he approached the supervisor, the lawyer claims she immediately cut him off and said ‘I’m not comfortable with this’ and then said ‘do whatever you want’ , before ending the call.

Two working days later, the attorney was called to a meeting where the supervisor reportedly said there had been several complaints about the attorney’s lack of respect. According to the application, it provided two examples from several months ago that had not been brought up before, including during its performance review. He thought the moment was due to his coming out.

Then followed a series of emails, including where the supervisor allegedly wrote:

“When you told me you wanted to discuss your sexuality and it wasn’t really about work, I told you it was awkward but I invited you to go ahead. You then informed me of your sexual orientation and that you wanted to join an OACAS group for LGBTQ2S staff, and I expressed my agreement The awkwardness I expressed was in response to receiving personal information about you unrelated to the work. She wrote that she supported his request to join the task force.

This gave rise to meetings and mediations. But the lawyer alleges the microaggressions continued, including alleged comments that the organization was the wrong person for the lawyer and that he would never become senior legal counsel.

“Due to the ongoing unrest, harassment, bullying and intimidation … (he) has resigned from CCAS effective October 29, 2021,” the request reads. He now works in another area of ​​law.

The lawyer also indicated that he participated in a fairness audit at the CCAS, but the conclusions were never shared.

In his application, he alleges that the discrimination damaged his reputation in the child protection sector and the legal community, “had a significant impact” on his mental health and forced him to disclose his orientation. sex with many colleagues when he did not want to.