Canada: Education Assistant's Human Rights Application Dismissed As No Reasonable Prospect Of Success

Last Updated: October 1 2015
Article by Stephanie Young

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2016

In a decision dated April 21, 2015, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario dismissed an application brought by an Education Assistant against the York Region District School Board on a preliminary basis as the application had "no reasonable prospect of success."

In Adegorite v. York Region District School Board, 2015 HRTO 498, the applicant was a 36-year-old Black man who had been working for the school board on a casual basis since 2010. While he was working at a secondary school in December 2013, the applicant surreptitiously obtained the phone number of a 16-year-old female student attending the school. While the student was not looking, the applicant picked up her phone and memorized her phone number. Later that same day, the applicant called her several times. The student did not recognize the phone number and did not answer; she sent a text message asking "Okay, who is this?". The applicant wrote back "Lol now u curious! Trouble finder! Lol." and sent a message identifying himself, as well as other subsequent text messages. The student responded to very few of the applicant's messages, but when she responded assertively, he would call her a "feisty woman".

The applicant told the student in the messages that he had been observing her at school and he asked about her work. The applicant also asked the student several times in his messages not to tell anyone that they were messaging, and hoped that she was "mature enuf" to know that she should not tell anyone they were texting. His final text, sent at 11:28 pm, said he was "not trying to have anything secret" with her, but people might get the wrong idea. The applicant deleted all the messages from his phone.

A few days after the exchange of text messages, the student met with the school counsellor and principal and showed them the messages, which she had saved on her phone. The student told the principal that the messages made her uncomfortable and that she tried to respond in an "unpleasant and unencouraging" manner. The school undertook an investigation in response to the student's complaint.

Further to her investigation, the principal interviewed the applicant and obtained a written statement from him. The applicant alleged that he took the student's cell phone number because he was concerned for her. Apparently the applicant had knowledge that the student's ex-boyfriend was recently released from prison and the applicant was worried she would be contacted by him. The applicant stated that he wanted to see if the student would answer her phone if she received a call from an unknown number. The principal suspended the applicant pending the completion of her internal investigation.

Upon completion of the investigation, the school board sent a letter to the applicant notifying him that his behaviour amounted to professional misconduct and his employment was terminated with just cause. The principal also referred the matter to the Children's Aid Society and police, in accordance with her statutory duties.

The applicant initially responded to the school board by letter admitting a "mistake", but claimed the student showed "an unhealthy attachment" to him, and that she felt "rejected" by him.

Ultimately, the applicant filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal alleging that the school board discriminated against him on the basis of his race and sex, and that his termination was a reprisal. The applicant alleged, in part, that the school board ignored its protocols and policies in terminating his employment without imposing progressive discipline; the school board implied unintended meaning when reading his text messages because he is black and male; and he alleged that if a white female education assistant sent similar messages, her employment would not have been terminated.

The school board requested the Tribunal deal with the application on a summary basis and without a full hearing because the application had no reasonable prospect of success. The Tribunal ultimately agreed after a brief hearing where the parties made submissions and presented documents and case law.

The Tribunal found that there was no reasonable prospect that the applicant would be able to prove on a balance of probabilities that his employment was terminated because he is a Black man, particularly when his behaviour was viewed in the context of the text messages sent by the applicant, and considering the age difference and power dynamic between him and the student. The applicant relied on bald factual allegations and speculations, and pointed to very little probative evidence to demonstrate that his race was a factor in the school board's decision to dismiss him. The Tribunal also noted that under the school board's progressive discipline policy, it was not required to utilize a specific step or level of discipline, and had the discretion to terminate an employee's employment where serious misconduct warranted such a response.

Lastly, the Tribunal found that the applicant had no reasonable prospect of proving his dismissal was a reprisal for claiming his rights under the Human Rights Code. The applicant's allegations of reprisal related to a request in 2011 for accommodation of an undiagnosed medical condition. The applicant was unable to point to any evidence suggesting he actually requested accommodation, or that his termination was retaliation for him having done so. Further, the applicant's allegation that the school board's decision to put the applicant in a temporary position in 2012 was retaliation was not related to any prohibited ground of discrimination and constituted a bald allegation. Similarly, the Tribunal dismissed the applicant's claim that the school board's decision to terminate his employment was retaliation for his request to be placed only in secondary schools in 2012 for reasons related to the birth of his child. Such allegation was entirely without foundation.

About BLG

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.