GURDEEP Dhesi, a taxi driver and a shareholder of Victoria’s Yellow Taxi, has admitted he lied about picking up his son just because he didn’t want a blind man with a guide dog in his vehicle.
Just one day before the hearing, Yellow Cab’s lawyer notified the Tribunal and Belusic that he’d discovered Dhesi’s story was a lie.
The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered Yellow Cab to pay the complainant, Oriano Belusic, $7,500 for injury to dignity, feelings, and self‐respect; $1,000 as compensation for expenses; and post‐judgment interest.
The Tribunal also ordered Dhesi and Yellow Cab to end discrimination against customers in circumstances similar to that of Belusic. It also ordered the company to affix a visible label to all vehicles in their fleet stating that the taxi cabs are guide dog friendly.
In a letter dated February 19, Dhesi made the following admission:
“I chose not to pick up Mr. Belusic in the afternoon of December 29, 2016 because I don’t like dogs.
“Even though I have picked Mr. Belusic and his dog up both before and after that date, in the afternoon of December 29, 2016 I simply did not want a dog in my car and when I realized that the customer had a guide dog, I called the Company’s dispatch and asked them to cancel the fare.
“Because the Company’s policy is that customers with guide dogs must be picked up and that a driver can only cancel a fare that he has accepted if he has a legitimate personal or health reason, when later asked about why I cancelled the fare, I lied and said that I had to pick my son up.
“I maintained that lie until I was ordered to produce my son’s cell phone records. My son does not have a cell phone.
“I acknowledge that cancelling the trip had the effect of being discriminatory to Mr. Belusic because he is visually impaired and requires a guide dog to assist him in going places.
“Cancelling that trip was also contrary to the Company’s policies and contrary to the Guide and Service Dog Act.
“I apologize to Mr. Belusic for cancelling his trip. I was selfish and wrong to do that.”
For the full ruling: