The Zelstoff Celgar mill in Castlegar

The Zelstoff Celgar mill in Castlegar

Tribunal set to hear complaint from former Celgar employee

Adrienne McKellar has made a human rights complaint against the Zellstoff Celgar pulp mill in Castlegar, B.C..

A former human resources manager for Zellstoff Celgar claims she and other female supervisors were denied equal pay and promotions that were received by their male counterparts.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has found nothing of merit within  complainant  Adrienne McKellar’s case so far, but has agreed to hear her case.

McKellar said she rose to a senior position that was previously held by a man and performed the same duties, but was given a different title and lower salary.

McKellar said she was groomed to take over the position of human resources superintendent at the mill, but when the time came she was handed all the same responsibilities but with the title of, human resources advisor. Furthermore, she said was informed that she would receive a pay increase which was considerably less money than the incumbent had made.

Allegedly, McKellar was fired June 2012 after she complained about her situation as well as what she described as systemic discrimination against women at the mill.

McKellar claims that the Human Rights code was violated in at least three ways:

1. Compensating men (regarding salary and vacation benefits) more than women in the same or similar positions.

2. Promoting men over women despite the men being less educated, experienced or otherwise qualified for those promotions.

3. Significantly changing the job titles of and duties of women who are promoted over men and paying those women less money than their male predecessor in the same or similar position.

Three other female employees in supervisory roles are named in the complaint and claim they were also denied equal pay or promotions based on their gender. The women are Susan Meredith, Christine Galer and Diane Perehudoff.

Galer and Meredith have since taken leave from Celgar due to the alleged discrimination.

The mill previously sought to have the complaint dismissed, saying each of the women made substantially different allegations,  with the only similarity between cases being gender, but the tribunal decided there were enough similarities for the complaint to be heard.

The company denies the allegations and says non-unionized salaries are set by an external firm, which evaluates each position with names and references to gender removed.