Court rules Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church was ‘unduly insensitive’ in firing senior pastor

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A Supreme Court of British Columbia judge has awarded the former senior pastor of the Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church $54,520 for lost earnings and $30,000 in aggravated damages in a wrongful dismissal case. Reverend Alfred Kong spent nearly three years as senior pastor of the church before being fired while on sick leave October 4, 2013.

The court determined Rev. Kong was the subject of an investigation conducted by church leadership that the minister was not party to and confidential information involving unsubstantiated allegations was released to the general congregation. The Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church will also have to pay court costs.

In his judgment, BC Supreme Court Justice Gordon Funt awarded aggravated damages to Rev. Kong ‘for the duress caused as a result of the unduly insensitive manner by which VCBC conducted itself in relation to the termination of the plaintiff’s employment’.

In court filed documents, Rev. Kong claimed he suffered embarrassment and humiliation when he was wrongfully dismissed from his job. He also claimed his privacy was breached by the release of a confidential letter he sent to the church personnel committee complaining of unfair treatment.

More than 100 members of the Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church, one of the Lower Mainland’s largest Christian congregations, left the church following the firing of the senior pastor which resulted in legal action and a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.