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BC Human Rights Tribunal supports transsexual’s termination

Daniel Lublin | May 30, 2008

On May 27, 2008 the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled in favour of BC Ferries with respect the the firing of transsexual employee, Deborah Magnone.

Deborah, who was previously known as Marshall John Magnone, claimed her termination was the result of rumours surrounding her 1984 sex-reassignment.

The Tribunal ruled differently. They cited two September, 2004 incidents as cause for termination. One of which resulted in a vessel being steered into a "hard-landing", potentially compromising the sea-worthiness of the vessel. In it’s ruling, the Tribunal stated that Ms. Magnone had "failed to establish that her transsexualism was a factor in her termination".

At the Tribunal, the burden of proof is for the complainant to make out a "Prima Facie" case, in other words, demonstrating initial merit.  If a prima facie case is made out, the burden then shifts to the respondent to show that discrimination did not occur. 

Click here for a link to the Tribunal’s decision.

Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful dismissal.  He can be reached at or visit