An independent human rights board of inquiry has found that the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, the province’s Acadien school board, violated the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act when it forced one of its managers to retire. Robert Theriault of Meteghan filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission alleging the school board discriminated against him when it required him to retire after reaching the age of 65 in April 2005. In his decision, board of inquiry chair Donald Murray did not accept the school board’s argument that it followed a practice of mandatory retirement consistent with the exemption for legitimate mandatory retirement schemes, programs or practices in section 6 of the Human Rights Act. “There are plans or schemes and practices, that are consistent within identifiable employee groups, but these are not consistent across all employee groups,” said Mr. Murray. The existence of mandatory retirement plans for other groups of unionized employees did not affect Mr. Theriault’s situation as a non-unionized employee, according to the board of inquiry. In finding that discrimination took place, the board of inquiry will be able to decide what kind of remedy is available to Mr. Theriault if the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial is not able to reach an agreement with him on that point. A complaint is referred to an independent board of inquiry when the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission believes a prima facie case of discrimination is made after an investigation by a human rights officer. The chief judge of the provincial court selects a board chair from a roster and the commissioners ratify the nomination. The decision on the complaint is then in the hands of the independent board. Evidence collected during investigation of a complaint is presented at the hearing by the commission’s legal counsel. The complainant and respondent can make submissions and question witnesses. The board chair then decides whether discrimination has occurred. All parties have a right to appeal decisions of boards of inquiry to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. A copy of the decision is available on the commission’s website at http://gov.ns.ca/humanrights/decisions/2008decisions.htm .