Bob’s Taxi has been found responsible for the actions of a contract driver and together, with that driver, has been ordered to pay $27,500. The driver discriminated against customers based on their race and/or colour.
Dennis James, chair of an independent Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry, released his decision today, March 9, in the case of Jennifer Smith and Javonna Borden v.
Bob’s Taxi Limited and/or Aleksey Osipenkov.
Ms. Smith and Ms. Borden alleged that Mr. Osipenkov discriminated against Ms. Smith’s two children and Ms. Borden.
In July 2011, Ms. Borden phoned Bob’s Taxi after taking her nephews — Ms. Smith’s children — out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Upon entering the taxi driven by Mr. Osipenkov, Ms. Borden described being verbally assaulted by Mr. Osipenkov, who used racially-charged language. She and her nephews were told to get out of the taxi and were denied service. The following day, Ms. Borden was again denied service by Bob’s Taxi.
“There can be no dispute that the language used by Mr. Osipenkov is deplorable. It is language that is debilitating to African-Canadians,” wrote Mr. James in his decision. “The demeaning language reveals an underlying disrespect and hostility. It must not be tolerated in anyway and condemned at every opportunity.”
Mr. James has ordered Bob’s Taxi and Mr. Osipenkov together pay damages of $7,500 plus interest to Ms. Borden and each of Ms. Smith’s two children. Ms. Borden and Ms. Smith will each receive an additional $2,500 plus interest; Ms. Borden for refusal of service, and Ms. Smith for the impact of harms afflicted on her sons and for lost wages. All monetary awards are to be paid in full within 60 days of the order.
Mr. Osipenkov is required to undergo mandatory human rights education. Bob’s Taxi has been ordered to develop policies, training and procedures for investigating allegations of discrimination.
More information on protected characteristics, protected areas, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act and the full decision in this case can be found online at humanrights.gov.ns.ca .