Woman offended by noisy children takes battle to human rights tribunal
An Abbotsford woman who suffers from a rare hearing disability has filed a
discrimination suit against her property manager before the B.C. Human Rights
Anne Faulkner, 56, alleges Leona Watts, property manager for Lynn Haven Society which runs the 40-unit complex she lives in, treats her in a "degrading" manner that "engenders a feeling of hopelessness."
Faulkner was diagnosed with hyperacusis, a severe intolerance to sound, in 2003.
The complaint stems from an incident in the spring when kids in the house next door to Faulkner but not owned by Lynn Haven Society, were playing outside and blowing a whistle.
Faulkner complained to the family, who then contacted Watts.
On April 3, Watts wrote a letter to Faulkner saying while she is "compassionate" with regards to her disability, her behaviour - which was "angry and unpleasant and came off intimidating to the point of frightening" - was "unacceptable."
Further, it said: "It is possible that this style of residence will lead to more discomfort for you as it is not possible to expect all to keep silent in order for you to be comfortable."
The letter ended: "If you have any questions please contact the office (in a calm manner)."
Faulkner claims the bracketed phrase was pejorative. However, Watts said Faulkner has been loud and confrontational in their five conversations.
"She's never spoken to me in the manner she wants me to speak to her."
Watts has also received complaints from other residents about Faulkner's "unpleasant" behaviour.
She said she hasn't treated Faulkner any differently then she would another resident, but "granted, if somebody comes at you and yells at you, would you get your back up?"
Watts said Faulkner's residency in the complex isn't under threat and maintains what she wrote in the letter was reasonable.
"I would tell that to anybody if their living situation is not comfortable. You can't change things around you, you can only change where you live."
Her lawyer applied to have the complaint dismissed, but the tribunal has denied her application.
Watts said it's a frustrating and costly ordeal.
"It doesnt cost her a dime, but it costs us because we have to have a lawyer," she said.
"It seems to me that anybody with any kind of vendetta can use the human rights tribunal as their outlet and that's wrong," said Watts.
"I'm not saying it shouldn't be in place, but if there's a cost for both sides then maybe they'll think twice before they want to make a . . . point."
I sympathize with the tenant's unfortunate hearing condition, but this account of her behavior reminds me of this:
(watch as of the 1:50 mark...)