Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright successfully defended the City of Langley in a claim brought by a resident alleging a violation of human rights and discrimination by the City.
The complainant accused the City of discrimination on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression for allowing a Pride flag to be flown at Langley City Hall during Vancouver Pride Festival, while denying her request to fly a religious flag on the same flag pole. The City applied to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal to dismiss the claims of discrimination and defend its decisions to fly the Pride flag and not to fly the religious flag.
Denying discrimination in the matter, the City argued that its actions upheld values of diversity and inclusion, as well as its duty to remain religiously neutral and act appropriately in accordance with the City’s flag policy. The Tribunal dismissed the complaint, observing that the decision to display a Pride flag was a means to counteract the historical discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities.
Litigation partner James Goulden Q.C., who worked with employment and labour associate Chanelle Wong on the case, commented:
“This human rights case is an important example for other public authorities that intend to increase the representation of communities which have historically experienced disparity or discrimination. In showing support for the Vancouver Pride Festival, and refusing a separate request to fly a religious flag, the City of Langley affirmed its stance on celebrating diversity while maintaining its legal duty of religious neutrality.”
The City of Langley is a municipality in the Metro Vancouver Regional District of British Columbia, with a population of approximately 27,000 people.