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B.C. tribunal orders $10K payout to taxi driver over caste-based discrimination

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ordered that a taxi driver be paid nearly $10,000 in compensation because his caste was insulted during a physical altercation at a staff Christmas party.
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The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered that a taxi driver be paid more than $9,000 in compensation because his caste was insulted during a physical altercation at a staff Christmas party. | CGinspiration/E+/Getty Images

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ordered that a taxi driver be paid nearly $10,000 in compensation because his caste was insulted during a physical altercation at a staff Christmas party.

The tribunal's March 15 decision says Manoj Bhangu, an immigrant from Punjab in India, was discriminated against by two co-workers on the basis of his ancestry, place of origin, and race.

Tribunal adjudicator Sonya Pighin says brothers Inderjit and Avninder Dhillon used a caste-based slur against Bhanguduring the brawl at the B.C. firm's 2018 party, and ordered that they pay him $9,755 in compensation.

Pighin says in the decision that although she couldn't conclude the brothers regarded Bhangu as their inferior, he had proven his "protected characteristics" were a factor in the adverse psychological impacts he suffered.

She says Bhangu provided uncontested evidence he experienced shock and embarrassment after the incident and described it as difficult for him to explain to his children what happened. 

India‚Äôs caste system dividing Hindus was officially abolished in 1950, but the social hierarchy still pervades many aspects of life there. 

The system divided Hindus into four main categories, deciding what jobs they could do and who they could marry.

Bhangu accused a third person of using the slur, but the complaint was dismissed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press