Summer job hiring policy discriminatory

B.C. company’s policy of favouring children of employees found to be discriminatory by court
By Melanie Manning
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The Eurocan Pulp and Paper Company had a summer job program for university and post-secondary students whose local residence was in the Kitimat, B.C. area. The program gave preference to applicants who were children of Eurocan employees. To be eligible to participate in the program, applicants had to meet a number of criteria, including full-time attendance in an accredited university or post-secondary program, grades in good standing in the institution and established local residence.

As a benefit to employees, about 90 per cent of the summer positions were reserved for the children of employees who met the criteria for the program. The positions were assigned by way of lottery. The remainder of the positions were available to applicants who did not have a parent employed at Eurocan but who otherwise met the criteria. A separate lottery was used to assign those positions. In both instances there were more qualified applicants than there were positions. Consequently not all children of employees who qualified were offered a summer job.

The complainant applied for a summer position in 2000. She met the criteria and was placed in the lottery for summer positions for applicants who were not children of an employee. She did not get hired, and claimed that Eurocan’s hiring policy discriminated against her on the basis of family status because her ability to obtain employment for which she was qualified was restricted solely because her parents were not employees of Eurocan.