Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

A BC Ferries employee who claims he was fired because of his race, alleging a “make-up of white supremacy” in the company’s workforce, will now get to argue his case.

Imraan Goondiwala worked his last day in Dec. 2017, according to a BC Human Rights Tribunal decision issued Jan. 20.

The behaviour that led to Goondiwala’s firing was a determination by BC Ferries that he “stole” company time to discuss union matters.

Goondiwala attested that while he was investigated for misconduct and fired, his white co-worker received a day-long suspension for similar behaviour.

In the tribunal’s decision, member Devyn Cousineau said if proven, the disparity in the treatment between the employees could qualify as discrimination.

RELATED: Human rights complaint filed over private change rooms for female BC Ferries engineers

BC Ferries has a predominantly white workforce, the former employee argued, particularly “when it comes to opportunities for advancement.”

In earlier complaints, Goondiwala said he applied for three promotions between 2015 and 2017 but was denied the positions due to what he claimed was a “pattern of racism” within the company.

Lawyers for BC Ferries applied to dismiss Goondiwala’s complaints, denying race played a part in its dealings with the former employee.

Cousineau granted a dismissal to all but one of Goondiwala’s allegations: that discrimination played a factor in the company’s decision to terminate his employment. This was ruled after BC Human Rights Tribunal reconsidered the case.

READ MORE: B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

The tribunal member concluded: “There is rarely direct evidence to connect adverse treatment to a person’s race because of the insidious and subconscious ways in which racism operates.”

He went on: “That connection can often only be proven by inference.”

As such, Goondiwala’s complaint will progress to a hearing.

Black Press Media contacted BC Ferries about the matter, to which a spokesperson from the company replied, “Our policy is not to publicly discuss matters before the courts.”



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BCFerries

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

Just Posted

Person experiencing homelessness. (Black Press Media file photo)
Program preventing youth homelessness launches in Kelowna

Upstream Project’s goal is to help young people become more resilient

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Most Read