BC Human Rights Tribunal (The Canadian Press)

Former worker at Surrey brewery claims he was bullied on the job

Human rights complaint to be heard against Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd.

The case of a former worker at Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd. who claims he was bullied on the job will be heard by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal after it denied the brewery’s application to have his complaint dismissed.

Seyed-Sepehr Seyed-Ali alleges he was “bullied and harassed” by a co-worker “for reasons connected to his ethnicity” and then the brewery “terminated his employment for reasons connected to his ethnicity and/or mental disability,” Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau noted in her Sept. 17 reasons for decision.

Cousineau heard Seyed-Ali, who is originally from the Middle East, began working for the brewery on Feb. 19, 2018 on a seven-month contract and, according to the complainant, was “almost immediately” subjected to “abusive and bullying behaviour from a co-worker who, “it appears undisputed,” mimicked him, “using an accent and slight limp.”

Cousineau noted that following an investigation by human resources the co-worker “received a written warning letter about his communications in the workplace, including yelling and talking down to his colleagues.”

Seyed-Ali, the tribunal member said, described the investigation report as “incomplete, confusing and not impartial.” In a letter to his supervisor, the complainant wrote, “I love beer and the science behind it but also value my safety and sanity.”

READ ALSO: Surrey landlord must pay Indigenous former tenant $23,300 for not letting her smudge

Cousineau noted that on Aug. 27, 2018, Seyed-Ali filed a bullying and harassment complaint with WorkSafeBC, which reviewed the brewery’s policies and actions and “concluded that its investigation into Mr. Seyed‐Ali’s complaints complied with its obligations and no further action was necessary.” He also filed a complaint with the Employment Standards Branch, which found that the brewery “did not have just cause” to dismiss him.

The co-worker’s employment has also been terminated.

The brewery asked the tribunal to dismiss Seyed-Ali’s complaint without a hearing, arguing it had no reasonable prospect of success and “it would not further the Code’s purposes to continue because the issue has already been remedied,” Cousineau said. She noted while she cannot make findings of fact, “the only question I have to answer is whether, in light of all the evidence before me, there is no reasonable prospect that Mr. Seyed-Ali’s complaint could succeed at a hearing.

“Again, the threshold is low: Mr. Seyed-Ali must only take his complaint out of the realm of conjecture.”

READ ALSO: Surrey brewery distilling hand sanitizer in effort to fight pandemic

Cousineau did dismiss Seyed-Ali’s allegation of discrimination based on mental disability, finding it “has not reasonable prospect of success,” but said there was nothing before her to permit her to conclude that the brewery “acknowledged discrimination and deal with it” and in these circumstances cannot dismiss Seyed-Ali’s complaint.

The tribunal member determined that, “based on all of the evidence and argument now before me,” she is “persuaded that this can only be done after a hearing on the merits of Mr. Seyed‐Ali’s complaint.

“The application to dismiss the complaint is denied,” Cosineau concluded. “The case manager will contact the parties to schedule a hearing. I encourage them to also take advantage of the Tribunal’s free mediation service, which may offer them a more timely resolution of the complaint, on their own terms.”

Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd. is located at 11411 Bridgeview Drive.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

Surrey

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

Just Posted

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

Signage outside of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Surrey advises of the drive-thru schedule. (Contributed photo)
Cold-weather clothing donations sought at South Surrey drive-thru effort

Weekly collection continues in Mount Olive Lutheran Church parking lot

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police investigating after another teen girl followed in Tsawwassen

Police say a man in a burgundy car approached teen girls on at least two, possibly three occasions

White Rock RCMP are searching for Richard John Lewis, who is wanted on warrants for assault and uttering threats. (RCMP handout)
White Rock RCMP searching for wanted man

Richard John Lewis is wanted on warrants for assault, uttering threats

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

Most Read