Willingdon Church in Burnaby, Canada. Photo: Google Maps
Willingdon Church in Burnaby, Canada. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino single mother, who was allegedly harassed by a Filipino church custodian at the Willingdon Church in Burnaby, Canada, has been granted a hearing at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

Raquel Cunanan, who had been a volunteer at the church, complained that custodian Cesar Beltran behaved inappropriately towards her, The Georgia Straight reported.

Cunanan said that in one incident Beltran entered the woman’s washroom to clean it while she was in there and he allegedly started pushing her stall door open. When she came out of the stall, Beltran was still in the washroom and smiled at her, which caused her discomfort.

“I also think that he looks down on me because I’m a single mom. If I was married, he would think twice before doing these things to me,” Cunanan said.

Cunanan raised her concerns to the church administration, which failed to respond to her complaints of harassment. Cunanan accused the church of discrimination for refusing to respond to her complaints.

Her case has now ended up in the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, where she was granted a hearing. The church sought a dismissal of the complaint, which was rejected.

Mark Loewen, the head of the Willingdon Church, claimed the accusations Cunanan made against Beltran were “unfounded” and had caused undue stress to the man.