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Coach Marc Rizzardo’s gender discrimination complaint against UBC goes to second hearing

Coach Marc Rizzardo's human rights complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal will go to a second hearing. Photo by Nick Eagland.
Coach Marc Rizzardo’s human rights complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal will go to a second hearing. Photo by Nick Eagland.

Langara’s men’s soccer coach is pushing his human rights complaint of sexual discrimination against UBC through to a second hearing.

Marc Rizzardo complains that UBC passed him over as women’s soccer coach in favour of a female applicant.

“It is a clear case of gender discrimination,” Rizzardo, a UBC alumnus, said in an email.

According to a BC Human Rights Tribunal document, Rizzardo was offered and accepted the position of head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds women’s soccer team on December 4, 2012. Three days later, UBC notified Rizzardo that the hiring process had been deemed unfair and rescinded the job offer. A second interview process was scheduled for January and Rizzardo was guaranteed an interview. Andrea Neil was then hired for the job.

One hearing not enough 

In the first hearing, UBC moved to dismiss Rizzardo’s complaint but was denied. A second hearing is scheduled for October 2014.

Rizzardo noted that he had seen letters through blogs complaining of his appointment as head coach of UBC’s women’s soccer team, saying it was a missed opportunity to hire a female coach.

“In one of the letters, the writer explicitly named Andrea Neil as the person that should have been given the job,” Rizzardo said.

UBC added that there was controversy around how they offered the job to Rizzardo, on Dec. 4, 2012, before the job posting was closed to applicants. UBC received complaints that this deprived some candidates of the opportunity to apply.

“I was disappointed to see how unprofessional they were in dealing with it,” Rizzardo said.

UBC denies the allegations 

Randy Schmidt, a spokesman from UBC , said the university would not provide further comment on the matter, aside from a press release issued Feb. 28, because the case will be going before the tribunal in October.

“UBC denies that sex was a factor in the hiring process for the women’s soccer head coach position,” the UBC statement said.

Tribunal member Enid Marion said the tribunal needs more information on the case.

“It is my view that this is a case that should be determined after full document disclosure and examination and cross-examination on the actual interview and decision-making process,” Marion said.

Reported by Graham McFie

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