Danielle’s eyes opened slowly. It was 5:55 am. “The only five minutes of calm in my whole day.”

At 6 am, the alarm shrieked. Danielle shuffled towards her son’s room.

“Frankie, time to start a new day,” she whispered gently. Frankie’s eyes opened with a start. “DON’T WANT TO!”

He thrashed around in the bed.

For the next two hours, Danielle went through the exhausting routine of getting her emotionally disabled son ready for his special school.

His teacher welcomed him with a big smile. “Hey, Frankie!” She turned to Danielle. “Rough morning?”

“Aren’t they all!” Danielle sighed.

“It can’t be easy, especially as a single parent.”

“I’m just lucky I finish work at 3, in time to pick him up from school,” Danielle remarked.

The teacher nodded. “Your devotion is really paying off. He’s progressing well.”

Danielle rushed through traffic, getting to work a few minutes late.

“Could I have a word?” Henry called her into his office.

“I hope I still have a job,” Danielle thought as she walked into her boss’ office.

“Danielle, we need to change the hours here at the clinic. That means your new schedule will be from 10 to 5 instead.”

Danielle panicked. “But that’s impossible…”

“We’re wasting resources being open so early. Our clients need us later in the afternoon.”

“But, I have to take care of my son after school,” Danielle pleaded.

Henry shrugged. “Get a babysitter like other parents.”

“But I’m not like every parent…”

“I’m sorry, Danielle.” Henry went back to his computer.

Danielle couldn’t afford to lose her job. She tried the new schedule.

When she got home at 6 pm, it was a disaster. “Where were you Mommy?!!” Frankie came crashing to the door.

The babysitter was distraught. “He needs to be with you after school.”

But Henry wouldn’t budge. “Sorry Danielle, I have a clinic to run.”

Danielle quit.

“But I won’t take this lying down. I’m suing the clinic! Henry had no right to force me to change my schedule.”

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Danielle was desperate. “Please, Your Honour, Henry knows I have a disabled son. He can’t change my shift when it would adversely affect my family’s well being. That’s discrimination against me as a parent.”

Henry argued back. “We had to change our hours to accommodate our clients’ needs. We’re not a corporation that can do business at all hours. We need Danielle later in the day.”

Did the clinic discriminate against Danielle? You! Be the Judge. Then look below for the decision.


“The clinic had no right to change Danielle’s hours,” held the Judge. “That was a serious interference with a substantial parental obligation; attending to her son’s special needs after school.”