Here’s your Friday dose:
First: This one just in from the BCHRT: A seafood worker has had his human rights complaint into his termination refused. Mr. Friesen complained that he was terminated because he wouldn’t stop preaching his Christian religion to his co-workers. While it is clear to me from the facts presented that Mr. Friesen should have been fired, the Tribunal has set some startling precedents.
Chief of these is a seemingly blanket permission for any employer to forbid their employees to speak about their religion in the workplace. This is seen by the Tribunal as a bona fide job requirement, since it is rationally connected to “maintaining a mutually respectful, functioning work force at the plant”.
I wonder if the Tribunal would have the same opinion on the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the American military.
Second: Jesse Ferreras reports on a human rights case brewing in Pemberton:
A former Pemberton councillor and mayoral candidate is taking the Village back before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
David MacKenzie again alleges that the village and its fire chief, Russell Mack, discriminated against him in four separate instances because of his sexual orientation.
Third: Looks like universities have taken evasive-language courses from the Commission (emphasis mine):
The Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) office states that scholarships don’t discriminate; it is an equal access opportunity open to all students. Manager for undergraduate awards, Brenda Denomme… agrees that giving students equal opportunities to apply for scholarships is beneficial both for the university and students.
“Only for specific reasons can we target a specific group,” she said. An example of this is giving more opportunities to women who apply for scholarships for the faculties of engineering or science in order to solve the underrepresentation of this gender in these career paths.
Interestingly, despite the SAFA office’s claim that scholarships provide an equal opportunity open to all students, the University of Waterloo does offer scholarships that seem to imply a preference for specific groups, such as Aboriginal or francophone students. The Ontario International Education Opportunity Scholarship Program (OIEOS), for instance, states on its application that “preference will be given to students with disabilities, and to Aboriginal and francophone students who self-identify.” The UW full-time bursary/award application asks “Are you an Aboriginal Person? (voluntary declaration).”