BC Human Rights Tribunal rules Canada Line employer SELI Canada/SNC Lavalin violated BC Human Rights Act by intimidating, coercing and retaliating against workers who filed complaint, orders employer to cease and desist; Union complaint over unfair wages continues

    VANCOUVER, Nov. 13 /CNW/ - The BC Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that
Canada Line employer SELI Canada and SNC Lavalin violated the BC Human Rights
Act by intimidating unionized workers who filed a complaint over unfair wages
and retaliating against them.
    The Tribunal, in a 35-page ruling, issued a "cease and desist" order
against SELI Canada and SNC Lavalin after earlier hearing testimony from both
    The Tribunal also awarded the union one-half of its legal costs in
bringing the complaint over the employers' behaviour.
    "This is a very welcome decision by the BC Human Rights Tribunal to put a
stop to outrageous interference in the rights of workers to file a complaint
without intimidation or retaliation," said Mark Olsen, business manager for
the Construction and Specialized Workers' Union Local 1611, which represent
the workers.
    Wayne Peppard, Executive Director of the British Columbia and Yukon
Territory Building and Construction Trades Council (BCYT), said the ruling
issued Friday is important for establishing that no worker, union or
non-union, can be intimidated for exercising their rights under the Human
Rights Code.
    "Not only this employer but every employer in the province should take
notice that it is totally unacceptable to interfere in a worker's right to
have a complaint heard regarding human rights issues," said Peppard. "We are
extremely pleased to see the Tribunal quickly put a stop to this bad corporate
    The Tribunal accepted evidence that the employer prepared and circulated
a petition it asked workers to sign saying they did not wish the union to
represent them in the complaint.
    "It was an attempt to intimidate and coerce individual members of the
Complainant Group to withdraw their support for the Union to represent them in
this complaint," the Tribunal concluded.
    The Tribunal, chaired by Heather MacNaughton, also rejected a SELI Canada
and SNC Lavalin application to take away the union's right to represent the
workers who filed the complaint, Peppard said.
    "There have been multiple attempts by the Canada Line construction
employers to take away the union's ability to represent its members and we are
pleased the Tribunal rejected this effort," Peppard said.


    Section 43 of the Human Rights Code reads:


    43 A person must not evict, discharge, suspend, expel, intimidate,
coerce, impose any pecuniary or other penalty on, deny a right or benefit to
or otherwise discriminate against a person because that person complains or is
named in a complaint, gives evidence or otherwise assists in a complaint or
other proceeding under this Code."

For further information:

For further information: or for a copy of the Tribunal decision: Mark
Olsen, Labourers 1611, at cell (604) 341-1799 or (604) 432-9300 or Wayne
Peppard, BCYT at cell (778) 388-0014 or (604) 291-9020 or Bill Tieleman, West
Star Communications, at cell (778) 896-0964 or (604) 844-7827. For background,
go to www.bcbuildingtrades.org

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