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Age discrimination case against UNBC dismissed

A charge of age discrimination against UNBC has been dismissed by a Human Rights Tribunal.

The charge was levied by William O’Hara, who claimed he was overlooked for a position in the university library because he is 70 years old.

UNBC advertised an entry level, temporary (for a fixed term of one year), part-time (20-hour-per-week) archives assistant position in the library. O’Hara applied. At the time of the application, he did not disclose his age, but disclosed his educational and professional experience.

According to the Human Rights Tribunal ruling, UNBC stated that there were nine applicants for the position, four of whom, including O’Hara, were considered as being overqualified. Ultimately, only one applicant was interviewed, and this applicant was hired. According to O’Hara, she is in her 20s.

O’Hara contacted UNBC’s Human Resources department and asked why he was not selected and was told that due to his work at cultural heritage and educational institutions as a historical researcher, reference librarian, archivist and museum assistant, he was over-qualified.

O’Hara felt the university was using his over-qualification as an excuse not to hire him based on his age. It wasn’t enough to convince the Human Rights Tribunal though.

“After considering all of the materials before me, I am persuaded that, at a hearing of the complaint, Mr. O’Hara has no reasonable prospect of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination on the basis of his age,” wrote tribunal member Jacqueline Beltgens in a written ruling. “His complaint hinges on the Respondents’ use of the terms ‘over-qualified’ or ‘extended career.’ Mr. O’Hara has not alleged facts that are capable of supporting a reasonable inference that the decision not to hire him for this temporary part-time position was related to a prohibited ground.”

His complaint was dismissed.

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