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Yacht Discrimination Claim Beyond Provincial Jurisdiction
June 9, 2006

The BC Human Rights Tribunal recently dismissed a female crew member’s sexual discrimination complaint after she was pushed off a yacht in Pendrell Sound.

The complainant was a steward and housekeeper on the yacht. After dinner and drinks one night, the captain pushed her into the water without warning. Although he said it was a harmless prank, the complainant contended that she was pushed overboard to entertain on-looking guests by providing them with an opportunity to see her in a wet white T-shirt. She claimed that the captain would never have pushed a male crew member into the water.

The Tribunal found that the dispute arose from the complainant’s employment as a crew member aboard a motor vessel operating in Canadian waters. As a result, the matter fell within the federal government’s exclusive authority to legislate with respect to navigation and shipping pursuant to s. 91(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867. The Tribunal affirmed the complainant’s right to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and it expressed no view regarding the merits of the complaint.

Osing v. Neffner and Payne, 2006 BCHRT 273