Stock photo.

Caucasian employees win discrimination case against former employer at B.C. resort

Sexual harassment-related complaint also included

by

Seven former employees have won a human rights complaint against Kin Wa Chan, the owner of the Spruce Hill Resort and Spa Ltd., in 108 Mile Ranch in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.

All are Caucasian, alleging that they were terminated or forced to leave their employment because they were not Chinese. They all quit or were dismissed within days of each other in August 2016.

The complainants filed the complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, and included Melonie Eva, Clare Fast, Kathy Stocks, Elisha Schaff, Manuela Boos, Norbert Boos, Jessica Allison and Elika Ward.

Eva also filed a sexual harassment-related complaint.

The ruling states that “with the exception of Ms. Ward, the complainants have established their case.”

The Tribunal awarded over $173,000 to the successful complainants.

Race and colour

Chan was found to have said words to the effect, “Chinese workers are better and cheaper than white workers” and “Chinese workers do not have to be paid holiday pay or overtime,” Tribunal Chair Diana Juricevic writes in the 73-page Reason For Decision document.

Eva testified that she and Chan had frequent arguments about “too many white people” working at the resort. Schaff testified she overheard some of these arguments and corroborated Eva’s evidence in that regard.

In a diary entry, Eva wrote that Chan wanted “white people gone.”

In one entry Eva noted, “He also says he wants to employ Chinese people they don’t ask for overtime they work on salary and work many many hours no overtime.” An entry that was in harmony with oral evidence by Fast and Stock as well as Eva’s own oral evidence.

Juricevic found it an undisputed fact that Stocks was replaced by a Chinese student.

Sexual discrimination

The complaint also involved a sexual harassment complaint by Eva against Chan.

Juricevic found that “on balance Mr. Chan’s conduct rises to the level of sexual harassment prohibited by the Code,” referring to an incident on a business trip in China. Eva assumed she would be staying in her own hotel room. Chan planned for them to share a room. Chan testified that it was for the purpose for saving money while Eva thought he wanted sexual favours.

“Notwithstanding his denial, or any purported misunderstanding, I find that it is more probable than not that Mr. Chan wanted to share a hotel room with Ms. Eva for sexual purposes,” according to Juricevic, noting that Chan wanting to save money didn’t conform to his spending during the trip.

“In any event, and regardless of Mr. Chan’s intentions, Ms. Eva found his conduct sexual and unwelcome. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Chan had any reasonable basis to believe that Ms. Eva might be interested in his advances. Yet, he walked her through a market that sold sex toys and booked a hotel room with a bathroom with only a glass divide. Mr. Chan acknowledged not advising Ms. Eva in advance that he expected them to share a room. His evidence was that such information was “mere details”. His explanation was simply incredible. No reasonable person could attribute an employer’s decision to book one hotel room when travelling with an employee to be a misunderstanding or “mere details” in these circumstances.”

Response

Eva

Eva provided the following statement after the Free Press reached out:

We as the complaints are survivors of decimation who under all the circumstances in spite of the discrimination, financial hardship emotional turmoil feel relief.

Tears of joy and emotional exhaustion flowed we got the phone calls and emails regarding the determination on Wednesday last week.

Victory is always possible when you refuse to give up and stop fighting.

And this is an amazing group of people who never gave up. I don’t think the reality has set in yet, we are still overwhelmed by the news.

Right now we all are grateful for the support form our families and friends throughout this long process.

We feel that this is not just a victory for us, but for our community, for anyone who has suffered the indignity of being discriminated against.

Chan

Chan provided the following statement after the Free Press reached out:

We are aware of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling. We are extremely disappointed in the judgement, and will be appealing this decision. Spruce Hill Resort and Spa prides itself on being nondiscriminatory, and we will continue to operate in a professional manner in the best interests of our staff and clientele. We are a business that does not hire people based on ethnicity or sexual orientation. We pride ourselves in being a place of work that is multicultural, and one of the pillars of this great community. Spruce Hill Resort and Spa is a place where everyone of every ethnicity, from staff to patrons, can gather and enjoy the finer experiences of the Cariboo!

Money awarded

Melonie Eva – entitled to $24,481 in wage loss and $18,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Kathy Stocks – entitled to $5,151.33 in wage loss and $15,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Clare Fast – entitled to $47,561.28 in wage loss and $10,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Norbert Boos – entitles to $20,715.07 in wage loss and $4,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Elisha Schaff – entitled to $6,129.28 in wage loss and $3,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Jessica Allison – entitled to $9,102.10 in wage loss and $3,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect

Manuela Boos – entitled to $7,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Terrace-area gold project shows strong promise

Juggernaut Exploration hopes this year’s drilling will follow last year’s exceptional program

New protocol will better assist victims of sexual assault

Victims of sexual assault are set to benefit from the completion of… Continue reading

School district remains firm on reassignments

Community calling for halt of decision

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

Teachers cast vote of no confidence against SD82 superintendent

“The repercussions of her actions are now creating a divide in the community”: union

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read