Employee denied promotion for being ‘straight’

Jagadeesh was being discriminated against at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto, for being a straight man.


Aaren Jagadeesh, a former employee of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), at Toronto, was apparently asked by his boss to join a group of gay and bisexual men at work, failing which he was denied promotion.

Jagadeesh explained at a court hearing that he had been denied promotion several times clearly because he was ‘straight’. Apparently, his boss had personally told him that he should not even hope to be promoted unless he becomes ‘smart’ and ‘learns’ exactly why others, who were junior to him had managed to move ahead.

Stating that men in the office were ‘sexually exploited’ in return for promotions and opportunities of career advancement, Jagadeesh said that the work environment had stressed him out and adversely affected his self-dignity and peace of mind.

The demanding nature of his work had impacted his vocal chords too. Apparently he had to meet a strict target of speaking to at least 60 customers daily, for less than 30 seconds each, over the phone. This had led to muscle tension dysphonia, for which the doctor had advised him to take medical breaks from work. Instead of being just and fair, the Bank had been very inconsiderate and had fired him, declaring him unqualified for the work.

However, Jagadeesh is certain the termination was based on his medical condition and his refusal to be part of the gay/bisexual group.

The case, which was earlier dismissed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, will now be reopened and investigated by a Canadian Federal Court.

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