Human rights case slated to resume in Stellarton

Thorborn woman alleges gender discrimination by Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

More witnesses are to testify this month at an enduring human rights hearing involving a Thorburn woman alleging she was discriminated against at her job at the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

The inquiry covering Pearl Kelly’s case is to resume Jan. 20 at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton. She filed a complaint with the province’s human rights commission in 2009.

Kelly’s complaint alleges her employer discriminated against her based on her gender and disability, an anxiety disorder linked to stress.

She said Saturday that the last time sworn testimony was provided, via a half-day teleconference call, was Dec. 6.

Three witnesses are scheduled to appear when the hearing resumes. After testimony is collected, dates are likely to be set for concluding remarks.

Kelly, a 42-year-old mother of three, has alleged male co-workers have referred to her as “Pregnant Pearl.” She went on sick leave years ago from her store management job at the liquor outlet in Stellarton.

She has alleged she was passed over for a promotion due to her gender.

Though Kelly acknowledged hearing delays have taken place due to some understandable circumstances, she said the amount of time it’s taking to adjudicate her case seems inordinately long.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” she told The Chronicle Herald.

“A lot of the delays on my part, if anything, was I was going through my union and had to go through grievances and had to wait for them to get resolved, or dismiss them.”

Mike Maloney, a spokesman with the liquor corporation, said last year the organization was disappointed the dispute could not be resolved.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re at this point,” he said in August.

Kelly remains employed by the corporation but has been on a medical leave of absence since 2008. Her goal is to return to work.

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January 5, 2014