Mother fights back after Tim Hortons allegedly refuses to hire her because she has children

MONTREAL – Two years ago, Global News shared the story of a young mother who was allegedly refused a job at Tim Hortons when she mentioned she had children.

Since then, Jennifer Byrnes has been fighting the fast food chain and seeking compensation.

“There’s no way I’m giving up on this,” she told Global News.

It all started in August 2012 when Byrnes applied to work night shifts at the Tim Hortons on Parc avenue.

After meeting with the manager, and then with the boss, she says she was told she’d be starting that very night.

“He had asked for my social insurance number, my medicare card, a void cheque, to get me started in the system,” she said.

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As she was dropping off the documents, Byrnes says the manager received a phone call from his boss, and that’s when everything changed.

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“When he got off the phone he came back to me and he said ‘Why didn’t you tell me you have kids? I can’t hire you now.'” she said.

Byrnes was devastated.

“It is insulting being told you can’t get a job because you have kids,” she said.

“It makes no sense. How are parents supposed to survive with their kids, if they can’t get a job because they have kids?”

A mother denied employment. Sebastien Gagnon-Dorval/Global News

Byrnes took her case to Quebec’s Human Rights Commission, claiming she was discriminated against based on her civil status and her age.

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Two years later, they came up with a resolution, but Tim Hortons refused.

The resolution suggests the mega food chain pay Byrnes roughly $11,000 in moral damages, as well as compensate her for loss of salary while she was looking for work.

Tim Hortons didn’t answer Global News’ request for an interview.

However, the company did say that Byrnes had never been promised the position.

After the ordeal, Byrnes says it took her weeks to find another job, and she insists her bad experience at Tim Hortons greatly affected her job hunt.

“You’re like ‘OK, now I have to review what I’m gonna say in an interview because they can’t know I have kids, it can’t slip out in any way,'” she said.

Byrnes, who now has a job in a call centre, says her next step is to take the case before the courts.

She will meet with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal in 2015.

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