Yacht owner ordered to compensate Black woman for ‘egregious’ treatment

Guy Marchand made assumptions about Jessica Perry’s skin colour, that she is not from Canada, that she must be an immigrant or refugee

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Warning: The following story contains sexist and offensive comments.

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The owner of a Vancouver boat charter company has been ordered by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to pay a woman $3,400 in compensation and expenses after an “egregious” complaint based on race, ethnicity and ancestry was found to be justified.

The complainant, Jessica Perry, said she was denied employment by Honu Boat Charters’ owner Guy Marchand, and later amended her complaint to include religion after seeing other comments by Marchand about her complaint.

Perry’s complaint centred on allegations that Marchant refused to hire her based on her race, ancestry and religious grounds when she applied for a job as a part-time crew member with accommodation for Marchand’s yacht in 2018.

Perry testified that Marchand asked her where she and her parents were from when she interviewed for the position at the dock where Marchand’s boat was moored. Perry, who is Black and calls herself a spiritual educator, said Marchand replied during the interview: “The thing is, I don’t want to waste your time talking about the position. I work with a lot of Japanese and Chinese and they are more traditional. So I wouldn’t be able to hire a coloured person. It’s not me but they are more traditional.”

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Marchand’s formal response to the complaint also included comments that he was worried that Perry was a “con artist scammer with her pretended spiritual trainer things and use our Yacht behind our back for her activities.”

He also described Perry as having a “very strong unpleasant body odour that was not good for customers.”

Tribunal member Amber Prince wrote in her decision released Wednesday that Marchand’s response to a remedy sought — filed with the tribunal in 2019 — accused Perry of giving a fake name, called her arrogant, a fraud and opportunist who knows how to play and use the system.

At a hearing in November 2021, Marchand did not dispute that he said, among other comments:

• “The little bitch go on posting on social media … Sorry bitch if you post on social media I reply.”

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• “My impression of [Ms.] Perry is that she can have a mouth as big as her big fat ugly ass.”

• “I am upset tonight that I have to waste time on a nigro (sic) refugee or immigrant up to no good using the system, religion, racist, human right subject to try to scam honest business and take advantage of it.”

Perry testified that Marchand’s treatment of her at the job interview was humiliating, disrespectful and offensive. She described losing out on an employment opportunity that offered accommodation.

As a result of the lost employment opportunity,  Perry gave evidence that she had to look for other part‐time work and accommodations in December 2018 and January 2019.

In the decision, Prince wrote that Marchand made assumptions about Perry’s skin colour, that she is not from Canada, that she must be an immigrant or refugee; and then negatively stereotyped Perry, which resulted in him not hiring her because of his negative assumptions.

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Marchand “attacked, belittled, and devalued the very core of Ms. Perry’s identity,” wrote Prince, adding that Perry was “robbed of her right to equal treatment.”

Prince noted that Marchand “repeatedly made egregious comments to and about Ms. Perry in this proceeding. His conduct harmed Ms. Perry. On the other hand, Mr. Marchand’s conduct improved when the Tribunal warned him that this conduct could result in a cost award.”

Perry is awarded $900 to compensate for expenses incurred because of discrimination; $1,500 as compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect; and a cost award of $1,000 — with interest until all amounts awarded are paid in full.

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