Home Featured Sex-based discrimination complaint against B.C.’s Ministry of Health tossed by human rights tribunal

Sex-based discrimination complaint against B.C.’s Ministry of Health tossed by human rights tribunal

by HR Law Canada

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint against the Ministry of Health, ruling that there is no reasonable prospect of success for the allegations of sex-based discrimination in her employment.

The worker’s complaint, filed on May 1, 2020, alleged that the Ministry discriminated against her based on her sex. The Ministry sought the dismissal of the complaint, arguing it was not filed within the one-year time limit and that there was no reasonable prospect of success.

In a complex decision, the Tribunal found parts of CC’s complaint against a specific individual, referred to as AB, were untimely and dismissed them. The complaint alleged bullying and “misogynistic behaviour” by AB, along with criticisms of the Ministry’s response and its investigations into her complaints.

The Tribunal’s decision to dismiss is anchored in several key findings:

Timeliness of the complaint: The Tribunal determined that the complaint was partially filed on time, specifically the allegations related to the Ministry’s 2019 Investigation Report. However, allegations against AB, dating back to a 2018 meeting, were considered out of time and were not accepted.

Ministry’s investigation: The Tribunal found no reasonable prospect that CC would succeed in proving that the Ministry’s investigations into her complaints were inadequate or biased.

Evidence indicated that the Ministry responded seriously and sensitively to her allegations, including offering counseling and a lateral transfer to a different role.

Connection to sex: Crucially, the Tribunal found no reasonable prospect that CC could establish at a hearing that her sex was a factor in the alleged adverse impacts she suffered. T

he Tribunal noted that while employers are responsible for maintaining a discrimination-free work environment, there was insufficient evidence beyond conjecture to support CC’s claim that her sex influenced the Ministry’s actions or the outcome of its investigations.

The Tribunal emphasized the low threshold for proceeding to a hearing but concluded that the Ministry met its burden of showing there was no reasonable prospect the complaint would succeed.

    For more information, see Cotton v. BC Ministry of Health, 2024 BCHRT 5 (CanLII).

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