A Hertz Rent-A-Car location in Vancouver (Canada) has rejected an employee’s request for bereavement leave, after his wife had a miscarriage. Ali Mahdi wanted to attend his stillborn child’s funeral, but Hertz would not provide him with leave from his job. As such, Mahdi announced that he has filed for legal action through the Human Rights Commission and the car rental giant will now have to answer questions before a British Columbia tribunal.
Mahdi argues that he first simply asked for an unpaid leave of absence, in order to care for his other two children, while his wife struggled with her pregancy. Hertz, however, informed the employee that he would have to deduct this from his vacation time instead. When Mahdi’s wife had a miscarriage, the local Hertz location told him that this situation did not qualify him for bereavement leave. Hertz’s insurer reportedly said that the only way that bereavement leave could have applied is if the child had died at least 24 hours after birth. In this case, Mahdi would have been within his right to claim bereavement leave from the car rental company, for up to three days. Hertz has since attempted to convice the tribunal not to hear the case as this incident did not represent an example of discrimination, but human rights officials have decided to go ahead with the hearings.