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Country Herbs claimed that it terminated the employees because they did not comply with the workplace rule of being available to work on a Thursday.
The employer further explained that they had numerous employees who were unable to work on that particular Thursday due to the religious holiday, and accordingly had to enforce their policy prohibiting any time off on Thursdays.
The employee who was scheduled to work did not show up on the holiday. The employees filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination based on creed and association.
The association charge was necessary as the employees submitted that the second employee (who was not scheduled to work on the holiday) was fired because he was related to the employee who had been scheduled to work the holiday but did not show up.
The product (herbs and vegetables) was perishable so Country Herbs needed all employees to work on Monday and Thursday – on Monday to get items out the door to restock stores that had sold product over the week-end and on Thursday to stock stores for the upcoming weekend.
The two employees, who were siblings, were minors and Christian Mennonites.
Employers are required to accommodate to the “point of undue hardship”.Two weeks later, the employees again told their employer that they could not work on the upcoming Thursday because it was a religious holiday for them.Country Herbs offered an alternative shift for the one sibling it had scheduled to work, but it was not feasible because it would start at midnight and the location was in a rural area (bear in mind that the employees were minors).In 2006, it was estimated that 2.5 million Canadians were adherents of a religion other than Christianity.By 2031, this number is expected to increase to between 5.3 million and 6.8 million people.