Aspen Planers loses in bid to have human-rights complaint tossed

A Merritt-based lumber company has failed in its bid to have a human-rights complaint against it dismissed.

Ewa Derek filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, alleging Aspen Planers management minimized her workplace injuries and called her a “drama queen” before she was fired.

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She claims discrimination led to her losing her job last year.

Derek had been employed by Aspen Planers as one of six part-time caregivers tasked with providing around-the-clock care to someone described as a client of the company.

According to Derek, she was bitten by one of the client’s dogs in 2017 and subsequently told her supervisor the incident heightened her anxiety. Derek alleges the supervisor told her she was “overreacting and called her a “drama queen” when she reported the incident to a bylaw officer.

Two months later, Derek injured her finger at work while attempting to fix a chair. She went on sick leave following the incident, which required treatment at a hospital and dressings applied by a doctor.

According to Derek, her boss minimized the injury, saying, “What’s the big deal? I cut myself and put a bandage on it and moved on.”

Derek alleges Aspen hired a full-time replacement for her position while she was off work and fired her on May 23, 2017, two days before she planned to return to the job.

Aspen Planers filed an application to dismiss Derek’s claim without a full hearing, but it was denied.

A date for the hearing has not been set.

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