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A British Columbia mother says her employer discriminated against her when it changed her shift without giving her enough time to find child care for her one-year-old son, forcing her to find another job.

Nicole Ziegler filed the complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal against Pacific Blue Cross, alleging the shift change amounted to discrimination on the basis of family status.

Pacific Blue Cross is denying any discrimination and the company applied to have the complaint dismissed without a hearing, however the tribunal denied that request.

Its June 22 decision to allow the hearing says Pacific Blue Cross initially gave its employees one month’s notice that the shifts would be changing, and the company gave Ziegler an additional four weeks when she expressed concern about child care.

The decision said Ziegler told the company wait-lists are long, and it’s typical for child-care facilities to require a minimum two month’s notice of any changes to care.

Ziegler told a union representative and assistant manager that while her office was in Burnaby, B.C., her home and child-care provider were in Langley, which is a 45- to 90-minute drive away.

While she previously worked until 3:30 p.m., her new shift ending at 5 p.m. would not allow enough time to pick up her baby before the daycare closed an hour later, the decision said.

The company told Ziegler the changes to its schedule were well within standard business hours and the company was not in a position to accommodate employee preferences, it said.

It also told Ziegler that employees are not entitled to specific shifts and that if the company accommodated her request based on her family status, other employees might think it was providing her with preferential treatment.

Neither Ziegler nor Pacific Blue Cross could immediately be reached for comment.

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