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Queen's University
 

Schroen

Facts

On May 1991, Ester Schroen had an interview for a position as an accounting clerk at Steinbach Bible College. The goal of this Mennonite institution, which places emphasis on the Anabaptist Evangelicalism, is "to train college students in nurturing faith relations and for ministry work with an evangelical perspective" (D/4). Both staff and faculty are expected to fulfill this objective by "sharing faith stories, attending regular prayer meetings and talking to the students about the Christian values being promoted at the school" (D/4). Although Schroen had been a member of the Mennonite church for the first eighteen years of her life, she had converted to the Mormon faith in the early eighties.  On her application form, dated May 28, 1991, she confirmed that she had no objections to the College's Statement of Faith, and during her interview she gave the impression that she understood and supported the college's objectives and requirements.  She was hired on June 10 1991, revealed her religious affiliation on June 18th and was dismissed on the basis of religious non-conformity on June 29 1991. During the hearing, Schroen stated that she saw no major differences between the doctrines of Anabaptist evangelicalism and those of the Mormon faith. Upon cross-examination, however, she admitted that she clearly understood these differences, and was aware of Anabaptist doctrines which explicitly denounced the Mormon faith, "including the baptism of the dead, interpretation of the Old and New Testament, and companion books to the Bible"(D/4). She declared that she would have a difficult time distributing and supporting College pamphlets proclaiming that the Mormon faith was a cult.  (Schroen v. Steinbach Bible College. (1999), 35 C.H.R.R. D/1 (Man/Bd. Adj.))

Questions

  1. Was this a prima facie case of adverse effect discrimination?
  2. Was religious compliance a bona fide occupational requirement ?
  3. Did Schroen wilfully deceive the Steinbach Bible College?

Decisions

  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Yes

Reasoning

  1. In so much as Schroen was dismissed because of her inability to meet the goal of training students for ministry work because of her faith, she was a victim of adverse effect discrimination.
  2. The requirement of religious compliance met both the subjective and objective tests which determined its bona fide nature; not only was the requirement made in good faith (subjective test), but also it was reasonable given the objectives of the College to interweave faith, education and services (objective test).
  3. The Board found that "her original application, resume, interview and her Statement of Faith were all calculated to mislead and conceal the fact that she was of the Mormon faith" D/3.

Further information on Special Interest Organizations: Policy on Creed and the Accommodation of Religious Observances, s. 8.2

 

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