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Okanagan Ski Resort denied dismissal of ex-employees discrimination case

A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing rejected an attempt to dismiss case
(Baldy Mountain Resort / Facebook)

A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing rejected an attempt by Baldy Mountain Ski Resort to dismiss a sexual discrimination case against it. 

The case, filed by former resort operations manager Caroline Sherrer, accuses Baldy and its chairman, Victor Tsao, of underpaying her compared to the previous male managers. 

The resort and Tsao had argued in their attempt to dismiss the claim that Sherrer's role and responsibilities were significantly different from the previous managers. 

Tribunal member Ijeamaka Anika, who ruled on the application, rejected the resort's argument largely over the contracts for Sherrer and the previous general manager. 

The contracts for Sherrer and the previous manager were both provided to the Tribunal and laid out responsibilities that were the same, Anika found. 

"Further, beyond the employment agreements, the respondents have also not provided any further information concerning what the previous managers did that made their role materially different from Ms. Sherrer’s," reads the decision.

Sherrer argued that she had 30 years of experience in the ski industry and that she outperformed previous managers, increasing revenue by 27 per cent and skier visits by 24 per cent, which was not disputed. 

Under the contract that Sherrer signed, she was being paid $58,000 in annual salary, with a potential $5,000 bonus based on the business's performance. 

The manager before Sherrer was receiving a salary of $84,000, four weeks of paid vacation annually and statutory holidays plus was provided with a suitable vehicle and cell phone, a property bonus, no restriction on overtime and a performance-based cash bonus. 

Sherrer had raised the pay disparity with her boss, and Tsao had allegedly told her she had no authority to access information on past employee wages.

In September 2020, her wage was increased by $1,000 to $59,000 annually. She resigned in April 2021.
With the application to dismiss rejected, a hearing will follow at which point the Tribunal will decide whether discrimination took place. 

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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