A Cold Lake man has been awarded $56,000 in damages by a Human Rights Tribunal after ruling he was denied a job due to his sexual orientation, race and religious beliefs.
As the Edmonton Sun reports, Rambo Landry – of Dene First Nations descent and husband of Cold Lake RCMP Detachment Staff Sergeant Jeremie Landry – was interviewed by Vegreville Autobody in 2014 for an office assistant position after Jeremie had been transferred to the town by RCMP from the Northwest Territory.
Part owner and former Vegreville Mayor Myron Hayduk conducted the 75 minute interview, in which Landry’s race and sexual orientation were brought up. Tribunal chair Karen Scott noted that Hayduk started off with a standard question asking why Landry wanted to work there, but then followed it up by asking what he would do if a customer had an issue with his preferences. Landry said he remembered telling Hayduk that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if it came to a physical threat he would have to defend himself. He said he learned that lesson from being bullied as a child.
Landry also testified that Hayduk said he didn’t believe in political correctness, that straight people are bullied into accepting gay people and that the tide would turn against them. Hayduk recalled mentioning his stance on political correctness, but not the rest. However, he later conceded that it may have happened.
Hayduk is also alleged to have mentioned that aboriginal people are a minority in Vegreville and asked him if he believed in god. When Landry replied that he was raised Catholic, he said that Hayduk told him he attends Catholic Church and that Catholics believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
After reviewing the successful candidate’s resume against Landry’s, Scott disagreed that the candidate was particularly more qualified than Landry, as Hayduk had claimed.
Landry was awarded $36,000 in lost wages from the job and 20,000 in general damages for loss of dignity. After the interview, the couple decided to move elsewhere, causing Jeremie to transfer to Cold Lake. Rambo later found employment with the Cold Lake First Nation.