Is it ok to discriminate against Christians? We often hear Christians complaining about being unfairly treated by the secular world, but would it be fair to deny someone a job simply because they are christian?
He wrote that she wasn’t qualified and “unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.”
At the very least this seems incredibly unprofessional.
In her complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, Paquette outlines a series of emails from executives from Amaruk Wilderness Corp.Paquette, an experienced river rafting guide, applied to be a wilderness guide for Amaruk’s Canadian operations in the North.
Obviously I don’t know if she was actually qualified, but if she can show that she is based on the job description, Thor might be in for a rough ride.
If you read the emails that were sent back and forth, she wasn’t actually qualified for the job. He added the TWU thing as an afterthought. CBC is spinning this one a little hard.
Her TWU affiliation need never have been mentioned. Regardless of whatever else he is, in this case Olaf is a dick. He needs to apologize.
I don’t think she has to show that she’s qualified. Typically the test before a human rights tribunal is whether a discriminatory purposes played ANY role in the action complained about. Even if they made the decision not to hire her based 99% on her lack of qualifications and 1% on a discriminatory ground they are liable… as I understand it.
I don’t know how it works in BC, but in Ontario and the federal levels, that’s not the case. You are not legally mandated to show no religious/cultural/whatever bigotry, you are only legally mandated not to *discriminate* based on it – not *showing* (non-discriminatory) bigotry is a convention, not a legal requirement. Discrimination only happens when (for example, using the wording of the OHRC) it “results in the exclusion, restriction or preference”. You *are* allowed to express bigoted opinions (the laws against discrimination “shall not interfere with freedom of expression of opinion”). It is *unprofessional* to make comments about protected categories (like religion), but not necessarily technically illegal – most companies disallow any mention of it to avoid even a whiff of trouble, not because they legally have to.
The exchange basically *starts* with this Amundsen guy saying, flat out, that she didn’t meet the (presumably non-discriminatory) requirements, so whether or not Amundsen profiled her based on her association or beliefs is irrelevant – the profiling wouldn’t be the cause of the exclusion. Saying “i’m not hiring you for this pizza delivery job because you don’t have a driver’s licence which is clearly stated as required on the application, oh and by the way, fuck Yahweh” is rude, but not illegal. Saying “i’m not hiring you for unspecified reasons, and by the way, fuck Yahweh” would be different because it means the burden is on Amundsen to show that that bigotry wasn’t the cause of the exclusion. But apparently (according to Amundsen) she clearly didn’t meet the stated, and publicly visible, qualifications, so case closed – the bigotry wasn’t a factor.
Amundsen is an asshole, no doubt, and his attitude is not merely unprofessional, it is flat-out bigoted, ignorant, and intolerant. He and his company rightly deserve to be dragged through the mud for this shit – until we see a truly heartfelt apology for this, no decent person should hire them. I feel genuinely sorry for Paquette that she had to hear that kind of shit (and I’m not particularly impressed with the title of this post, either). But human rights violation? No, ‘fraid not. Bigotry is still legal and actually protected; only unjustified discrimination caused by bigotry is illegal, so firing off a religious/ethnic/racial slur while you kick an unqualified applicant out the door (for example) wouldn’t count.
I didn’t say that its on the respondent to show it didn’t act with a discriminatory purpose. The onus is on the complainant. But that was not my main point anyway.
Also the bigoted statement alone may (and I say MAY) fall within the scope of BC’s speech provisions at s. 7 of the Code which are broader than Ontario’s (the feds have repealed their in their entirety). But that is still not my point.
The argument is that an inference can be drawn from that statement (and I would says from the context of the statement) that his dislike of Christians played some role in his refusal to hire her.
“Some role” is enough to find discrimination. The BC Human Rights Code says: 13 (1) A person must not..(a) refuse to employ… a person…because of the.. religion… of that person. That section has been interpreted to mean that if the potential employee’s religion played any role whatsoever, no matter how minor, in the employer’s refusal to hire them it is discrimination within the meaning of the Code.
So like I said, if 99% of the reason they refused to hire her was that she was unqualified and 1% was because of her religion, they are still violating the code.
I’m quite sure it is the same in Ontario and Federally but admittedly am not up enough on those jurisdictions.
I didn’t say that either. Nor did i say or even imply that you did.
As i said, i’m not familiar with the BC code, but i have a hard time believing they don’t allow free expression of opinion. So long as the expression isn’t hate speech – and there’s no way Amundsen’s remarks could be construed that way – i would presume it’s protected under the law. Even in BC.
Inferences are in the eyes of the beholder, and they do not hold weight in a court of law. I’m pretty sure that’s true in BC, too. I cannot believe any court would seriously allow a suit to be brought successfully on the grounds that bigotry *might* have played some role, maybe… *especially* when there are clear and obvious reasons for the refusal that have nothing at all to do with bigotry. The system would be sorely broken if that were the case.
Just think about the consequences if that were true. It would mean, for example, that someone who was obviously unqualified for a biology teaching position could sue if they heard the faculty head mocking creationism (which i wouldn’t doubt happens often). I seriously don’t believe the system in BC is that broken.
Yes, but the key point is that Amundsen is arguing that bigotry played *no* role and that she wasn’t hired simply because she wasn’t qualified. And although he may be a total asshole, i have to say i believe him – in the exchange, it’s the very first thing he says, and he says it as if it’s stupidly obvious. He will point to the job requirements posted on his site, then he will point to Paquette’s resumé (which presumably doesn’t include the necessary qualifications), then he will spread his hands and look at the Tribunal and say, “any questions?” That will be it. Case closed.
If you try to say, “but, but, maybe he was *also* anti-Christian…!”, his lawyers will laugh right into your face and say, “prove it”… right before they file a lawsuit against *you* for slander for accusing him of being prejudiced in his hiring (a suit that he would win, because what you would have done is literally exactly that). They will cry out “objection: speculation”, and the objection will be sustained because that’s literally what you’re doing; you’re speculating. You have no real evidence that Amundsen took her religious beliefs into account – all you have is circumstantial evidence that can be otherwise explained.
Based on that alone, i would expect the Tribunal to dismiss the case for lack of evidence (which happens often), but even more damning is that the exchange sure as hell seems to imply that Amundsen thought she was right out of the running as a candidate before anything really began. His first words in the exchange are essentially, “I don’t understand why you even bothered to apply; you’re totally unqualified and you should have known that”. Assuming it’s legitimate (and that would depend on what the posted requirements were, and what was on her resumé), his bemusement that she even bothered to apply pretty much makes it clear that she had no shot before he even read about her alma mater. His distaste for her religious views can’t possibly have been a factor in preventing her from getting a job she could not possibly have gotten anyway. He’ll probably say that while *she* may have seen the email exchange as between herself and a prospective employer, *he* saw it as an exchange between himself and a crackpot who was just wasting his time.
Rather than focusing on how it looks from Paquette’s perspective – ie, from the perspective of someone who thought they were applying for a job they had a shot at only to be nastily ridiculed – just think about how this case looks from Amundsen’s perspective. Imagine i, without any medical training, phoned up a hospital that was advertising for a neurosurgeon and applied for the job. Imagine further that after submitting my obviously inadequate resumé, i managed to coax the head of the hospital into criticizing me for having some hatemongering religious organization on the resumé, and i get it on record. Do you seriously think i would have any chance of winning a human rights complaint for being denied the neurosurgeon job because of my religious beliefs? That’s ludicrous. Clearly i didn’t get the neurosurgeon job because i’m not fucking qualified to be a fucking neurosurgeon – the fact that the head of the hospital happened to comment on my religion is utterly irrelevant to that; i had *no* chance of getting the job even without that factor. So it is with this case. If it’s true that the qualifications are documented, and that Paquette’s resumé didn’t meet them, then she couldn’t have gotten the job period… regardless of her religious beliefs. So how could there have been a “1%” factor in her not getting a job she had 0% chance of getting in the first place? Do the math: figure out how much 1% of 0% is, and there’s your answer at how much “role” Amundsen’s bigotry played in the decision.
Barring damning information we haven’t seen yet, i see no way that Paquette has a chance of winning the case here – i doubt she would even have a shot at getting it heard were it not for the publicity she’s gotten, thanks to CBC and it’s usual quality journalism.
I don’t have time to respond to this line for line but a few things.
First, with all due respect you seem to have a few misunderstandings about how evidence works in court or before a quasi judicial tribunal. Remember that this would be tried on a civil standard while your arguments seems to imply that they need to prove everything beyond a reasonable doubt–which they don’t.
You are wrong about courts not drawing inferences. I would know because (here comes an appeal to authority) I am a lawyer. We specifically learned in law school to ask the court to draw inferences and I have seen a number of decisions where they were accepted. I don’t know how else to prove that to you other than to tell you to read some cases and you will see.
It is true that inferences are trickier in criminal court because they almost by definition raise a “doubt”, but in civil court they are extremely common.
Also just because they deny that her religious beliefs had anything to do with it doesn’t mean that will be accepted. Credibility is an issue in many/most court cases.
The court is not obliged to take them on their word. You may not be aware that there is even some law in Ontario where people were found liable for unconscious discrimination that they weren’t even aware of. It is highly controversial but it is there.
Also human rights tribunals don’t typically use the “but for” approach to causation that they use in other civil courts. It is true that if this was a tort case the fact that she wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway would be a full defense but that is not how it works in human rights tribunals.
I’m not certain that her complaint would succeed under s. 13, just that contrary to what you are saying she at least has an arguable case. Personally I think she is a slight favourite to win. They really opened themselves up by making those comments in the context of an exchange about potential employment. They really invited the inference. If I had a client who came in and told me that they did what they did I’d shake my head and tell them to offer a quick settlement to make it go away.
As an asisde, I’m not sure if a complaint under section 7 would work. Its certainly thin. Im just noting that there is a significant difference in the law between Ontario/Feds and BC on speech. BC’s code is much less deferential to free speech.
Yes, i know you’re a lawyer – you’ve mentioned that before. But i don’t think you’re a human rights lawyer, because what you’re saying makes no sense in that context – and flat-out contradicts the evidence you can see in the case law (of which i’m only really familiar with Ontario, admittedly).
Again, i don’t know what the standards are in BC, but in Ontario there have been cases that suggest she has no chance. For example, Allarie v. Rouble was a case where a guy with a service dog was thrown out of a food store, and the store people *specifically* mentioned that the service dog was a problem, and that they had refused to accept that it was a service dog despite being given a medical note saying it was.
You’d think that should obviously be an easy win for the applicant, right? I mean, the store *specifically* mentioned the dog was an annoyance (complaining it was sniffing at the food, and i think they might have mentioned it was yipping, but i might be mixing it up with another case), and they didn’t want him to bring it in, and that they didn’t believe it was a service dog. Schussler v. 1709043 Ontario is about a woman who was refused service at a buffet for having the dog with her, and the restaurant didn’t believe it was a service dog despite being shown proof… Schussler won. So Allarie’s case should be open-and-shut, right?
Nope, the Tribunal dismissed the complaint. Why? Because even though the store was absolutely wrong to refuse to accept the doctor’s note about the service dog, and even though throwing him out for having a service dog *would* have been illegal (so far everything’s the same as with the Schussler case), the store claimed that the *real* they threw him out was because he was acting like an asshole. And they had evidence of that. Since that alone was reason enough to eject him, and there was no evidence that their distaste for the service dog was a factor (despite the fact that they are on record saying the dog was a problem, there’s no proof that influenced the decision to have him thrown out), the complaint was dismissed for lack of evidence of discrimination.
That sure sounds similar to the case here. Assuming Amundsen can prove that her qualifications just weren’t up to par according to the posted requirements (and assuming the posted requirements are legit), it matches the Allarie precedent perfectly. Even though he’s on record as not liking her religion, and even though refusing to hire her because of her religion *would* be illegal, he claims the *real* reason he didn’t hire her was that she wasn’t qualified. And he has evidence of that (presumably). Since that alone is reason enough to refuse her application, and there is no evidence that her beliefs were a factor (despite the fact that he’s on record hating her beliefs, there’s no proof that influenced the hiring decision), it seems a foregone conclusion.
Frankly, i’d agree with you in that if i were asked, i’d recommend Amaruk just settle… and issue an apology, of course. There’s always a risk the Tribunal won’t swing the way you think they will. And even if they were legally in the right, they were still way off base – and TWU’s homophobia notwithstanding, public opinion doesn’t seem to be in their favour. However, i do think that if it *does* go the Tribunal (or whatever they have in BC), you should bet on Amaruk.
I never said that an inference MUST be accepted nor did I ever say that a witness MUST NOT be accepted as credible.
Those are different cases with different facts and I would say they are distinguishable.
First I am reading Schussler and it reads like the applicant was successful. Am I looking at the wrong case?
Second in Allarie there were two events separated by two years–one which clearly was related to the dog but no service was denied, and one where he was kicked out. The store also allowed him in the store on other occasions with the dog which is evidence that the final confrontation had nothing to do with the dog.
Third I think Amaruk has to contend with the use of the word “additionally” in the opening to the second paragraph (implying that what follows was connected to the first) and the statement that it “not a Christian organization” which is some evidence of intent.
There is also a difference between flying off the handle and saying something inappropriate to someone who is already being an ass and someone who is politely applying for a job.
While I don’t consider myself a human rights lawyer I’ve appeared in court on several occasions and played a supporting role on other files. I also do a fair amount of civil litigation which has similar and generally stricter rules of evidence. Both courts and human rights tribunals use similar rules when it comes to inferential reasoning.
It will be interesting. The fact that he said his bigoted remarks as well as said that she wasn’t qualified sort of makes me wonder how much she wasn’t qualified and how much the fact that she is Christian made up his decision. It won’t be an easy call and probably will depend on how much each wants to pay for lawyers to argue the case.
You’re probably right though in suggesting that she won’t win her case.
Well, I’m presuming he can actually back up that she’s unqualified. Just going by his opening comments, he seems completely bewildered that she even bothered to apply – and he doesn’t mention a specific item that she doesn’t measure up to while using “requirements” in the plural, which implies to me that she fails to meet *several* of them. But that’s just guesswork.
And i’m presuming that the “minimum requirements” are legitimate. That is, they’re all actually relevant to kayaking or whatever it is they do, and there’s nothing screwy like “must love Thor” in there.
Assuming those two things are true, and assuming no other evidence turns up showing they *did* consider her religion when denying her (like internal emails or something), then yeah, i’d say she has no chance.
It will be hard to tell if she was discriminated against because the hiring party made bigoted remarks against her. You aren’t supposed to discuss religion, sexual orientation etc. during the interview process, including being told you are not suitable for the position.
Oops I mean including “when” you are told you aren’t suitable for the position…..being told you aren’t suitable isn’t discrimination in the civil rights way.
> and I’m not particularly impressed with the title of this post, either…
Really, you think the Asgardians will be offended? I am honestly curious.
I suppose it’s vaguely sexual… But I was going more for an avengers feel.
If I gave her more agency would that be more acceptable?
‘Christian she-hulk hits back hard after Thor drops the hammer’
… Tends to get a bit long that way…
You know what? I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you are “honestly curious”. Which means not only are you displaying a disgusting lack of empathy for someone who was unjustly treated horribly, you’re also being dishonest.
So… I am dishonestly curious? Ok. I’m good with that, whatever it means.
I was half expecting you would declare that the ‘hammer’ comment implied a patriarchal support for violence against women and rape culture… Or something. So yes, I was interested how you would justify your unimpressedness.
As to my lack of empathy. While I think Thor and company are total douchebags, the little entitled anti-gay Christian princess, who seems to think the world owes her a job, whether she is qualified or not, is not someone I’m going to care too much about… Given the length of her email response I’d say she hasn’t be particularly traumatized by this… Horribleness. Her essay on Vikings seems more an attempt to antagonize, and she admits she added god bless, for that exact purpose. Oh, the poor dear.
I just can’t get past the sheer incongruity of a self-described “Viking” who bangs on about human rights violations and discrimination. He needs to get out there and pillage a couple of monasteries before he lets the side down completely.
If there wasn’t actually a job in the first place, is there a human rights complaint?
That would be trolling on a grand and moronic scale..
Yeah, I just heard about this all being fake. Not making atheists look very good IMO.
It seems acccording to a report on cbc.ca that the jobs may not even exist and the whole Amaruk thing is too good to be true -perhaps an outright fraud.
I believe this Christian finally got a taste of her own medicine. She felt hurt by being rejected because of her faith, yet all the while her faith rejects countless numbers of others to a eternal damnation. They can dish it out, but they can not take it.