Richard Zilberg, who is Jewish, was told he could not work on the Sabbath at Spa Orazen, in Montreal, Quebec. Zilberg who was working at this spa for 10 months, then got the edict he cant work on Saturdays. In an interview in 2015, Zilberg stated “I was not permitted to go to the salon and work on Saturdays based on the fact, and solely on the fact, that I’m Jewish”. This collided with Zilberg’s fellow co-workers, since Saturdays are the spa’s busiest days.

The owner, Iris Gressy, allowed Zilberg not to work Saturdays, on condition that he does not tell his clients the reason why. The conditions were broken, and after a dispute, Gressy let Zilberg go on the terms of breaking his confidentiality policy.

Commission president Tamara Thermitus said in the ruling “This ruling reminds us that an employer cannot impose different working conditions on an employee on the basis of his or her religion, which is one of the grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms”.

The Human Rights Commission agreed to the assessment, and awarded Zilberg $20,000 in his losses. The salon did not agree and was sent to the Human Rights Tribunal. Gressy was then ordered to pay $6,006 in property damage,  $ 4,000 in moral damages and $ 2,500 in punitive damages.


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