Man sacked over Sabbath working rule wins damages

By Barry Duke

Richard Zilberg, 54, a Jewish hairdresser in Montreal, has been awarded $12,500 in damages following his sacking in 2012 for working on Saturdays.

Zilberg was hired at the Spa Orazen salon in October 2011 and worked six days a week, including Saturday, the busiest day of the week.

But salon owner Iris Gressy, who is also Jewish, got it into her head that her Jewish employees should not work Saturdays. She not only ordered him to stop working on the sabbath, but told him to not tell clients why he was no longer available.

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

This week judge Yvan Nolet of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Gressy’s decision to prohibit Zilberg from working on the Sabbath violated his right to equality in employment due to his religion.

In an interview on Thursday, Zilberg said he was very happy with the ruling, even though he was awarded less money than sought on his behalf by Quebec’s Human Rights Commission.

It’s been almost five years and I’ve had to have a …read more

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