Jewish hairdresser fired over Sabbath dispute wins Quebec human rights case

A Jewish hairdresser in Montreal who was not allowed to work on Saturdays and was eventually fired has won a discrimination case against his former employer.

A Quebec judge has ordered Iris Gressy, who is also Jewish, to pay Richard Zilberg $12,500.

Zilberg, who is 54, was hired at the Spa Orazen salon on Queen Mary Rd. in October 2011 and worked six days a week, including Saturday -- usually the busiest day of the week for hair stylists.

Court documents state Gressy told Zilberg in July 2012 he would no longer work on Saturdays, in accordance with her new policy of not allowing her Jewish employees to work that day. She also requested he not tell clients why he was no longer working Saturdays.

Gressy fired Zilberg the following month after she learned he had told a client of the salon that his employer had prohibited him from coming in on Saturdays because of his faith.

Judge Yvan Nolet of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Gressy's decision to forbid Zilberg from working the Sabbath violated his right to equality in employment due to his religion.