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Gibsons restaurant ordered to pay $30,000 to transgender employee for discrimination

Decision highlights respect due to all restaurant servers, lawyer says

The Buono Osteria restaurant in lower Gibsons. Facebook photo

Buono Osteria, a restaurant in lower Gibsons, has been ordered to pay $30,000 to a former employee for discrimination based on their gender identity and expression.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled on Sept. 29 the restaurant had violated the province’s Human Rights Code, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on those “protected characteristics.”

Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau made the award as compensation to server Jessie Nelson for unjust treatment experienced during a month of employment in 2019 after which they were fired.

The tribunal’s hearing on the matter occurred in late July 2021. The 42-page reasons for decision document describes Nelson as “a non‐binary, gender fluid, transgender person who uses they/them pronouns.”

The document states that Nelson’s preferred pronouns were known to management when they began working subject to a three-month probationary period on May 27, 2019. It also says that management made efforts but did not follow up on actions to ensure Nelson was addressed as requested by the workplace team.

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