'Medical apartheid:' Anti-vaxxer loses battle after ICBC fired her | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Medical apartheid:' Anti-vaxxer loses battle after ICBC fired her

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An ICBC worker who called the government's mandatory vaccination policy a "medical apartheid in the workplace" has lost a fight with her union after it refused to challenge ICBC's vaccination policy.

ICBC worker Ruth Menekerious took her case to the Labour Relations Board arguing the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 breached its duty to her as a union member because it wouldn't challenge ICBC's policy.

According to an Aug. 26 Labour Relations Board decision, Menekerious said putting employees on unpaid leave for not getting vaccinated was "medical discrimination."

The decision says the union told Menekerious she would have to get vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021, or she would be placed on unpaid leave.

However, Menekerious did not get vaccinated and was placed on unpaid leave the next day.

Menekerious argued her dismissal was against her collective agreement and made multiple inaccurate statements about vaccination in her arguments.

"ICBC's policy is political, biased and discriminatory without any scientific proof to support their discrimination and coercion," she argued. "ICBC did no testing to show how vaccination and their new policy ensures safety and health in the workplace, prevents infection or stops transmission of COVID-19."

Menekerious argued her union should have stood up for her and challenged the policy on behalf of all unvaccinated workers that were let go.

"ICBC continues discriminating against employees creating medical apartheid in their workplaces for ideological and political purposes and the Union does not challenge the policy," she argued.

However, the Labour Board didn't buy it.

The Labour Board says the union is entitled to take a different view than one of its members about a policy.

Menekerious isn't the first union member to argue their union should have stuck up for them in the last few months.

In July, Cranbrook healthcare worker Kerry Killoran challenged her union for "conspiring against her" after it refused to challenge Interior Health's vaccination policy.

READ MORE: Anti-vaxxer loses fight with union after being fired by Interior Health

Menekerious argued the union didn't use any of the case law or other documentation she sent them to fight her cause.

The Labour Board ruled the union had obtained a legal opinion about ICBC's vaccination policy and while there were some "specific areas" where it "may have overstepped its rights" the policy was reasonable.

The union had challenged the vaccination policy for failing to provide staff with 60 days' notice before implementing the policy. The decision does not state the outcome of this challenge.

Menekerious also accused the union of discriminating against her by not challenging ICBC.

However, the Labour Board dismissed her claims pointing out she never asked for an accommodation based on disability, religion or any other grounds, so therefore the union couldn't have discriminated against her.

The Labour Board ruled that while Menekerious disagreed with her union's stance on vaccinations it doesn't breach her collective agreement or rights as a union member.

Ultimately, the Labour Board dismissed the case.

READ MORE: B.C. pharmacist that reused syringe barrel for COVID-19 vax suspended

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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