09/30/2013 04:00 EDT | Updated 11/30/2013 05:12 EST

Khaira Enterprises: Golden B.C. Tree Planters Bring Racism, Sexism Case


VANCOUVER - Allegations of racism and sexism go before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal today against the owners of a tree planting business.

A group of tree planters, most of them immigrants or refugees of African origin, were found living in squalid conditions in a camp in Golden, B.C., in February 2010.

They were employed by Khaira Enterprises Ltd., and its owners, Khalid Bajwa and Hardilpreet Sidhu, who were ordered by B.C.'s Employment Standards Branch to pay the workers almost $260,000 in back wages.

Eugene Kung, with the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre, is the lawyer for the 50 workers who complained to the tribunal about the discrimination.

Kung says he'll argue that racism and discrimination were at the root of the horrific experiences the workers endured.

The centre says the workers have received less than half of the amount of wages they've been owed.

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