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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers sees 37 per cent increase in tips in 2019

The non-profit takes anonymous tips from the public, brings information to police

Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke nations join more than 50 other members in South Island Prosperity Partnership

Chiefs look forward to creating ‘sustainable future’ for next generations

Almost 150 calls of service for Westshore Towing during snowstorm

Most calls were from Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read