Surrey man who is deaf claims law firm discriminated against him

Darrell Siebring had lodged a similar complaint against his strata in March 2018, but lost

A Surrey man who is deaf has lodged a human rights complaint against a law firm, claiming it discriminated against him on the basis of his physical disability.

Darrell Siebring claims that when he made an appointment to meet with one of Taylor Law Group’s lawyers for legal advice, the firm refused to provide him with a sign language interpreter for the meeting.

Siebring had lodged a similar complaint against his strata in March 2018, but lost. In that case, he accused the strata of discriminating against him on the grounds of physical disability for refusing to pay for an additional sign language interpreter at its annual general meetings.

Siebring filed both complaints with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

In the strata case, tribunal member Kathleen Smith decided in November 2018 Siebring’s complaint had “no reasonable prospect of success” because he didn’t provide evidence of any adverse impact he allegedly experienced.

“Because Mr. Siebring has not articulated any allegations of adverse impact, I find that he has no reasonable prospect of establishing that he suffered an adverse impact as a result of the strata’s refusal to pay for two interpreters at the AGM,” she concluded. “If Mr. Siebring has no reasonable prospect of establishing this element of his case, it follows that he has no reasonable prospect of succeeding with his complaint.”

In Siebring’s latest complaint, tribunal member Norman Trerise dismissed Taylor Law Group’s application to have it dismissed.

“I am not persuaded that Mr. Siebring has no reasonable prospect of establishing that he was discriminated against on the facts alleged,” Trerise decided.

READ ALSO: Deaf Surrey man loses human rights fight

READ ALSO: Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

READ ALSO: Surrey Pretrial inmate lodges human rights complaint for not being fed kosher food

READ ALSO: Transgender inmate makes human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

Trerise noted in his Oct. 22 reasons for decision that when Siebring phoned Taylor Law Group he asked an articled student if TLG would provide him with professional translation service and the student replied that no interpretation services were available at the firm, but he could bring a professional translator, family member or friend to translate for him.

Siebring accused TLG of violating the Human Rights Code for not accommodating his need for a sign language interpreter. In response, the firm maintains it had a bona fide reason for not scheduling an appointment with Siebring because he refused to accept its rates and there is no basis for it to pay for services for an individual who had not retained the firm’s services.

Siebring’s response to this is fees were not at issue in his complaint, but rather TLG’s not providing him with an interpreter, and paying for that service, for a first or subsequent meeting with any lawyer he retained. He also referred to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Trerise noted, “which he says clearly requires that a person who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.”

To this, Taylor Law Group responded that the Human Rights Code doesn’t require a law firm to provide free sign language interpretation at the expense of the firm.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

KPU’s Cloverdale campus to host open house Nov. 20

Registrants have a chance to win prizes, if they sign up early

Surrey RCMP doesn’t expect big hit in light of projected $10M cut in B.C. budget

Public safety minister says RCMP informed province about projected budget deficit

École Salish Secondary held its official opening Nov. 12

Cloverdale school unveils Coast Salish welcome post

Surrey’s Sourdif among A-list ‘Players to Watch’ for NHL Entry Draft in Monteal next June

The right-shot forward has eight goals and nine assists with Vancouver Giants this season

Surrey Save-On-Foods to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen’s Christmas Hamper program

Farquhar hopes locals will donate food, toys, gift cards, or warm clothing, such as mittens and toques, at the Clayton Heights store Nov. 23

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

B.C. RCMP investigating stolen boots, credit cards, booze, and beauty products

Langley RCMP investigating property crimes, including credit card fraud in Surrey

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Most Read