Lawsuit Filed by Rejected Job Applicant
According to a report from CBC News, “A Trinity Western University graduate has filed a human rights complaint in British Columbia saying she was “attacked” because she’s Christian after she was rejected in a job application from a Norwegian outdoor tourism company. Bethany Paquette says she was rejected to work as a guide for Amaruk Wilderness Corp. in Canada’s north because she went to Trinity Western University, a Christian university in B.C. that bans sex outside of heterosexual marriage.”
Denied Due to School History?
Bethany Paquette shared her story with CBC News, and admitted that she was “really hurt” by the rejection email which she feels attacked her “on the basis that I’m a Christian.” She has extensive training as a raft guide, and was therefore shocked not only to be rejected by Amaruk, but for the context in which that rejection was made. The issue, it seems, came when Paquette’s school history came into play. Here is a part of what Olaf Amundsen had to say to Paquette (via patheos.com):
I do not understand the purpose of your application considering you do not meet the minimum requirements that are clearly outlined on our web site.
Additionally, considering you were involved with Trinity Western University, I should mention that, unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want, and this is reflected within some of our staff and management. In addition, the Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition, and way of life.
I do not understand the purpose of your response considering where I attended University and my religious belief should have nothing to do with whether or not I meet your company requirements.
Letters Become Offensive and Unprofessional
From there, the letters became extremely offensive and unprofessional in almost any religion or business. They are so offensive, in fact, that they cannot be fully posted here. Amundsen answered:
… “God Bless” is very offensive to me, and yet another sign of your attempts to impose your religious views on me. I do not want to be blessed by some guy who was conceived by a [expletive describing an immoral woman], outside of marriage, and whom has been the very reason for the most horrendous abuses and human right violations in the history of the human race. If I was to meet the guy, I’d actually [expletive describing a sexual act] him.
As patheos points out, most employers would simply send out a letter which told the applicant that they were not chosen for the job. This guy instead made it clear that her religion was the reason and even went so far as to threaten sexual acts against God.
Although most would agree that Amundsen went too far in his denial letter, they would still question the need to sue. Paquette was not fired for her religion, she was simply not hired. The facts are, however, that it is not acceptable to discriminate against someone because of their religion. Paquette’s lawyer, Geoffrey Trotter states that if the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal agrees that this is a case of discrimination, he will ask for compensation not only for the wages that Paquette lost, but also for the injury to her feelings and her self respect. He wants the Tribunal to send “a really strong message” that “it is not acceptable to discriminate based on what somebody believes or where they went to school. That it is not ‘open season’ on Christians in Canada.” (Patheos)
What Do You Think?
Was Amundsen right to reject Paquette based on her religion or the fact that she attended a religious college? Should the Tribunal find that he did, indeed discriminate? Is it ever acceptable in the workplace to attack someone’s religion or make fun of their deity, or their lack of believing in one? We shud be very careful when we decide what is “acceptable” and what is “legal.” The rules work both ways….