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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Sikh immigrant faced discrimination over job application, tribunal rules"

The Toronto Globe & Mail notes:
Sikh immigrant Gian Sangha took off his turban to make himself look more Canadian and prayed that his job application to a federal government agency would be successful.

He was fluent in four languages, had postgraduate degrees, including a PhD from Germany in environmental science, had co-written two books, authored numerous research papers and taught at India's Punjab University.

Mr. Sangha was working as a landscape gardener in Greater Vancouver -- mowing lawns and weeding flower beds -- when he applied in 2001 for a mid-level position as a regulatory officer with the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. And he scored among the highest of the 12 applicants the board chose to interview.

Yet to his shock a few days later, he was told his application had been rejected because he was overqualified. The board felt he would become bored with the job's routine nature and quit prematurely.

Mr. Sangha complained to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2002 and in a groundbreaking decision released Friday, the tribunal ruled that the board's action discriminated against Mr. Sangha and visible-minority immigrants in general. It awarded him $9,500 for pain and suffering.

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