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

Delays for drivers on Mount Woodside this week

There will be single-lane alternating traffic on Monday and Wednesday this week

No defence witnesses in trial of man charged in killing of Abbotsford student

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

Agassiz Fire Department collects nearly 5,000 pounds of food for food bank

The annual food drive took place in the evening on Dec. 5

HISTORY: A curious commmunity connection between Agassiz and Pelham, Ont.

History columnist Lindsay Foreman shares her most recent story about how small Canada really is

Chilliwack condo sales up 153%

Year-over-year increase points to first-time homebuyers

Agassiz’s Dickens Tea sells out for seventh year

The annual holiday event saw visitors enjoy high tea and historic talks

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

Hope’s illicit drug death rate rivals Vancouver

Small Fraser Valley district listed among top five per capita in B.C.

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

15-year-old charged following threat to South Surrey high school

Police announce pair of teens arrested for Nov. 14 incident at Elgin Park Secondary

TransLink CEO ‘hopeful’ SkyTrain shutdown can be averted with last-minute deal

No extra buses will be on the roads if strike goes ahead

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Most Read