VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s human rights commissioner says a court decision about workplace discrimination involving the mother of a young child is “a significant win for gender equality.”
Commissioner Kasari Govender says the latest decision “is an important step forward” in protecting workers whose parental duties may have changed during employment, creating conflicts with workplace responsibilities.
The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled Friday that cases of employer discrimination against a worker’s “family status” can happen “whenever” the terms of employment interfere with an employee’s parental duties.
A judicial review last year of a human rights tribunal ruling on the case between Gibraltar Mines Ltd. and welder Lisa Harvey ruled that a discrimination complaint is only valid if an employer actively made changes to the terms of employment that interfered with a worker’s parental duties.
Harvey, who works for Gibraltar alongside her husband, took legal action against her employer when the company did not accommodate her request for changing shifts to take care of her child after her maternity leave ended.
The case has now been remitted to B.C. Supreme Court to be considered under the criteria set out in the new ruling.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2023.