Halifax discrimination case deserves damages that are at 'high end:' lawyer

The lawyer for a Halifax transit worker who complained about racial discrimination in his workplace says his client is seeking over $1.4 million in total damages.

Bruce Evans told a Nova Scotia Human Rights hearing today that his client is looking for the maximum amount awarded under Canadian law for general damages, $367,000, and another $1.053 million in lost earnings and pension.

Last week, a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry found racist bullying in Halifax's transit service.

Evans says medical evidence shows his client, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, has suffered psychological injuries that are "severe and devastating" and he should be awarded the maximum under current law.

In a decision released last week, inquiry board chairwoman Lynn Connors said the complainant was frightened and terrorized by the actions of a former bus mechanic who no longer works for the transit service.

Connors said that the city of Halifax was "vicariously liable" for the actions of its workers and didn't do enough to curb inappropriate behaviour.

Commission lawyer Jason Cooke says the previous maximum award of $35,000 would be "grossly inadequate" in this case.

However, the lawyer for the Halifax Regional Municipality, Randolph Kinghorne, says awarding the maximum would be inappropriate because the usual range for human rights awards is between $30,000 and $40,000.