B.C. tribunal tosses human rights complaint over garlic, onion and latex balloon allergies

Lengthy dispute ends with rejection for Burnaby employee

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has again rejected a woman’s complaint that her employer discriminated against her by not accommodating her allergies to garlic, onions and latex balloons.

Tracy Klewchuk has worked for the City of Burnaby for more than 25 years, according to tribunal documents published this month online. This includes working at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre and the Kensington Complex.

But in 2007 or 2008 Klewchuk said she told her employer that she was allergic to latex balloons and asked they stop using them at the rec centre.

Klewchuk claimed that between 2008 and 2018 she was repeatedly exposed to latex, garlic and onions, despite her allergies. Instead of replacing the balloons, management “simply schedule her for shifts where there would be no balloons on site,” resulting in her losing work hours.

She also claimed that she was given a poor performance review “in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination.”

Both rec centres stopped using latex balloons in 2016, according to tribunal documents from 2018.

The city has denied the allegations and in late 2018 applied for the tribunal to order Klewchuk to disclose more information to back her claims, including when she told her supervisors about her allergies as well as when and where she was exposed to latex, garlic or onions while at work.

Seventeen different applications were filed between the Klewchuk and the city as tribunal member Devyn Cousineau worked to gather necessary information to make a ruling on the dispute.

But in April last year, Cousineau dismissed the case, ruling that Klewchuk had “failed to particularize a number of her allegations.”

ALSO READ: $12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Klewchuk asked the tribunal to reconsider Cousineau’s decision earlier this month, arguing that she didn’t have all the documents she needed from the city in order to argue her case fairly.

In her final decision, Cousineau said that tribunal decisions are typically considered final, and it would be “manifestly unfair” to allow Klewchuk to re-argue the same issues.

“In my view, Ms. Klewchuk has not identified how any interests of justice or fairness could justify reopening the decision in hopes of achieving a different result,” Cousineau wrote. “In contrast, I am satisfied that doing so would significantly compromise the fairness and efficiency of this process.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Gary Robbins maps out epic trail across eight mountains

Robbins spent nearly 40 hours covering 110 miles and over 10,000 metres of elevation gain

Driver in fatal crash near Hope pleads guilty in death of female passenger

Anthony Cortez scheduled to be sentenced for death following crime spree in 2017

PHOTOS: From corn kernels comes an Agassiz king

Nathan Hertgers is the 2020 Corn King

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

Missing Chilliwack man not seen for eight days

Bruce James Madill last known location was on Paula Crescent on Sept. 16

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

Most Read