A Halifax taxi company and one of its drivers have been fined $27,500 after a human rights board of inquiry concluded the driver discriminated against customers based on their race.
The board of inquiry reviewed an incident on July 15, 2011, involving Javonna Borden and her two nephews aged 13 and 10, who had phoned for a cab from Bob's Taxi after they went out for dinner to celebrate her 20th birthday.
When the three entered a taxi driven by Aleksey Osipenkov, he used racially-charged language and ordered them out of the car, says the inquiry's decision released Monday.
"There can be no dispute that the language used by Mr. Osipenkov is deplorable. It is language that is debilitating to African-Canadians," Dennis James, chairman of the board of inquiry, said in the ruling.
"The demeaning language reveals an underlying disrespect and hostility. It must not be tolerated in any way and condemned at every opportunity."
Borden testified during the board of inquiry that she called Bob's Taxi for a cab the next day as she was getting ready for work but was told no car was coming because of what happened the previous evening.
She said she would sue the company on the basis of discrimination, at which point the person on the phone said, "Good luck with that," the ruling says.
James said Osipenkov denied his involvement in the incident, tried to disrupt the board of inquiry on many occasions and was disrespectful to the complaints.
The ruling also concluded that Bob's Taxi failed in its responsibility to deal with a serious complaint.
Osipenkov, a contract driver with the company, is required to undergo mandatory human rights education and Bob's Taxi has been ordered to develop policies, training and procedures for investigating allegations of discrimination.
They have 60 days to pay the fine, which is to be disbursed between Borden, her two nephews and their mother.