Safety & HCM Post

Discussing Family Status Isn’t Necessarily Family Status Discrimination

Despite the union’s urging, a nurse on suspension for misconduct refused to drop her grievance and accept her employer’s reinstatement offer. When settlement negotiations broke off shortly thereafter, the union refused to take her grievance to arbitration. A month later, the nurse was fired. The nurse sued the union for family-status discrimination, contending that it pressured her into settling because she was a single mother with a sole source of income. The BC Human Rights Tribunal dismissed the case without a trial. The nurse had at least a shot at proving that she suffered adverse treatment at the hands of the union; but she had no chance of showing that her family status had anything to do with that treatment. True, the union did cite the nurse’s status as a single mom to try and persuade her to accept the settlement offer and avoid the risk of arbitration. But these were legitimate topics to bring up in the course of representing her during the grievance. “Not every negative comment connected to a protected characteristic” is discrimination, the Tribunal explained [Byelkova v. BC Nurses’ Union, 2019 BCHRT 119 (CanLII), June 21, 2019].

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Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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