Guide company fined for discriminating against TWU student

A Trinity Western grad has won a B.C. Human Rights ruling.

  • Mar. 9, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Alex Skerdzhev

A Trinity Western University graduate was awarded $8,500 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in early March against a wilderness company that discriminated against her for atttending a Christian university.

Bethany Paquette, a recent graduate of TWU’s biology program, applied for a job as a winter assistant guide intern with Amaruk Wilderness Corp., a Norwegian-based company that has an office in Vancouver.

What she got in response was a vitriolic letter from guide and instructor Olaf Amundsen decrying her faith-based university, prompting her to file a complaint with the tribunal board back in 2014.

“I have heard of some other grads facing similar issues, whether it was applying for grad school or work. It just seems silly because in my experience at Trinity, there is no discrimination,” Paquette told the Vancouver Sun last week. “The money is not a big deal…. Discrimination is wrong. It doesn’t matter about a person’s religion, sexuality or where they’re from.”

Paquette’s lawyer, Earl Phillips, the executive director of TWU law and specializing in human rights cases, said this case was unique.

“Most cases about religious discrimination in employment are about the effect of a religious belief at work,” he said in a statement. “The Paquette case is extraordinary because it is the religious belief itself that was a problem for the prospective employer.”

The tribunal decision is not final and can be appealed to the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review.


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