Nova Scotia

East Hants man with disability fights for work

A long-time East Hants worker says his employer is discriminating against him after a ski accident left him quadriplegic, prompting the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to consider how far an employer should go to accommodate an employee with a disability.
Ed McQuillan broke his back in a ski accident. (CBC)

A long-time East Hants worker says his employer is discriminating against him after a ski accident left him quadriplegic, prompting the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to consider how far an employer should go to accommodate an employee with a disability.

It's been almost three years since Ed McQuillan broke his back in a ski accident. Soon after, the Municipality of East Hants told him he could not return to his job as a water distribution operator.

"I feel like I've been kicked to the curb," McQuillan said.

After a disability leave he was subsequently given two days work a week, but he felt the municipality should do more to accommodate him so he filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

He now works five days a week, but he's only filling in for another employee until June.

McQuillan said he's not sure what will happen then, but he wants to return to a full-time job with the municipality where he's worked for 18 years in the water and wastewater operations department.

"I've done everything in the business so I think there's ample opportunity there for me to help continue to share my knowledge and grow as an employee, but I've not been given the chance," he said.

The Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of East Hants told CBC News she would not discuss McQuillan's case because it is a personnel matter.

But in a letter to the local newspaper earlier this month, warden James Smith said the municipality "has acted with the law and has spent taxpayers' money prudently."

A human rights officer met with both sides and is recommending McQuillan's case be dismissed.

Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission can accept that recommendation, refer the case for further investigation, or establish a board of inquiry into the matter.

The commission's decision is expected next month.

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