Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Female BC Ferries workers' gender-based discrimination case continues after failed mediation

Complaint, filed in 2020, represents 16 female workers alleging workplace bullying and harassment including remarks about ‘period-related mood changes’

By Nina Grossman
November 19, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Female BC Ferries workers' gender-based discrimination case continues after failed mediation

Complaint, filed in 2020, represents 16 female workers alleging workplace bullying and harassment including remarks about ‘period-related mood changes’

By Nina Grossman
Nov 19, 2022
Photo : James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo : James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Female BC Ferries workers' gender-based discrimination case continues after failed mediation

Complaint, filed in 2020, represents 16 female workers alleging workplace bullying and harassment including remarks about ‘period-related mood changes’

By Nina Grossman
November 19, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Female BC Ferries workers' gender-based discrimination case continues after failed mediation
Photo : James MacDonald / Capital Daily

Complainants in a gender-based human rights complaint against BC Ferries have been ordered to provide more information to the ferry corporation.

A group of female BC Ferries employees working in the engineering department filed a human rights complaint against the employer in 2020, alleging they experienced an ongoing pattern of sex and gender-based discrimination.

A BC Human Rights Tribunal document says the allegations—from 16 female workers—outline a workplace climate of harassment and bullying including “negative remarks about period-related mood changes, and about their separate status as women.”

The complaint alleges that female employees don’t have separate change rooms from men and have to pass through the men's change rooms to access the toilet and shower. They also allege there are “insufficient receptacles to dispose of period products.”

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

“The lack of facilities draws focus to their status as women, causes them to feel different, unwelcome, humiliated, and unsafe in the workplace,” said a complaint summary.

After the complaint was filed, there was an unsuccessful tribunal-assisted mediation process. BC Ferries was ordered to provide a complaint response but issued an application for more information in May 2022, asking for the names of the complainants and for more information about the allegations.

BC Ferries claimed, in their application, that the complaint lacked basic information including who was involved, when the alleged events happened, and what is alleged to have occurred.

But the representative for the employees, union representative Laurence Spencer, argued the request for more information was “​​improper, unnecessary, impossible, overbroad and irregular.” Spencer also said disclosing the names of the women could expose them to danger.

On Nov. 15 the BC Human Rights Tribunal issued a decision partly in favor of BC Ferries, calling for additional details from the complainants, but denying BC Ferries’ request for information on witnesses and the names of the complainants.

“At this time, I am satisfied that the description of the group in the Complaint
(i.e., all women working in the Engineering Department), together with the particulars ordered
above, provides a sufficient basis for BC Ferries to understand what is being alleged by whom,
and to respond to the Complaint,” said tribunal member Kathleen Smith.

Smith said Spencer’s claim that name disclosure could put complainants in danger was a “serious allegation,” but was made without evidence.

“It is my expectation that a party alleging exposure to danger will provide the necessary evidence for the Tribunal to make a decision,” Smith said, adding that she would not order the names to be disclosed at this time.

Spencer was ordered to provide the additional information by Jan. 10, and BC Ferries’ response is due 35 days afterwards.

BC Ferries and the BC Ferry Marine Workers Union did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Nina Grossman
Newsletter Editor
[email protected]

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Related News

Indigenous learning program brings reconciliation to a local level
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.