6 employees file human rights complaints against UBC after being fired or denied promotion

The association representing management and professional staff at UBC says six of its members have filed human rights complaints against the university.

The members of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS) say they were terminated or denied a promotion on the basis of disability or pregnancy. The six members have made a total of eight complaints to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The incidents allegedly happened at the school’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses in a variety of departments.

The AAPS represents approximately 4,500 employees out of the nearly 16,000 people who work at UBC’s campuses.

No ‘just cause’ protection

Joey Hansen, executive director of the AAPS, says the association’s collective agreement doesn’t have just cause protection. This means that, unlike other traditional unionized environments, members can be terminated without just cause.

He says the employees basically received a form letter saying they were terminated or denied a promotion.

Hansen said the association decided to go public due to the number of complaints.

“We started noticing a pattern of employees with health issues being terminated without just cause,” Hansen said.  

“We felt we had to find a way to deal with this. Not just on an individual basis, but what we feel is a systemic issue at UBC.”

UBC denies allegations

In a statement to CBC News, the university says it is aware of the complaints made to the tribunal and says it takes any discrimination concerns seriously.

It declined to make any specific comment other than to say, “the university denies the allegations in the complaints.”

The statement also said the university “works hard to ensure employees have access to innovative programs and benefits, including staff housing programs, fitness facilities, daycare, retirement planning assistance and many others that make UBC an exceptional work environment.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

With files from Yvette Brend

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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