A Canadian woman says that she was barred from getting a job at a wilderness tourism company because of her Christian faith.
Bethany Paquette, who is an experienced rafting guide, said she was “attacked” over her religion by Norwegian company Amaruk Wilderness Corp.
Paquette has taken her email correspondence with the company to lawyers and is preparing a case for the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.
Describing her experience, Paquette said: “I did feel really attacked on the basis that I’m a Christian”.
She says she was shocked when she read an email sent in reply to her application by Amaruk’s hiring manager Olaf Amundsen.
It read: “The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life.”
Paquette studied at Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley, British Columbia, a university with a Christian ethos.
Students at TWU are required to refrain from sexual intimacy outside from hetrosexual marriage.
In reference to this policy, the email stated: “unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want”.
In subsequent correspondence he described God as “the very reason for the most horrendous abuses and human rights violations in the history of the human race”.
Amaruk Wilderness Corp claim that Paquette’s job application was rejected “solely based on the fact that she did not meet the minimum requirements of the position”.
Amundsen said that any additional discussion in the emails would have been a “mere expression of opinion”.
However, Micheal Vonn, from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, said that employers are not supposed to express opinions about an applicant’s religious background.
“You are allowed to think anything you like. But you have obligations as an employer to act in a non-discriminatory manner”, Vonn commented.
She added: “What you have is written documentation that more or less is tantamount to a sign on the door that says no one of religious affiliation need apply for employment here.
“We don’t usually see discrimination cases that are quite this stark.”