Case studies: Race

Area: Employment
Ground: Race
Result: Resolved voluntarily with conciliation

After working for the same company for many years, a Métis man was transferred to a new location. He claimed that his new co-workers made offensive comments about "Natives," which continued until he was again transferred. At the next site, he alleged that he was called a racist name every time he went into the social room. He also became the target of crude jokes and remarks about Natives. With the assistance of the Commission, the parties were able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution during conciliation, including a financial settlement, changes to company policy, and an apology.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race, colour and gender
Result: Resolved voluntarily at the investigation stage

A Caucasian-Canadian factory worker complained that management discriminated against her because of her race, colour and gender. The worker alleged she was treated differently than her Asian-Canadian male co-workers, and when opportunities for further training arose in her area of specialty, management ignored her and sent Asian-Canadian males instead. She left her employment as a result of this treatment. The employer denied the allegations, but an investigation showed her complaint had merit. The employer provided a financial settlement.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race and colour
Result: Resolved voluntarily at the investigation stage

A Canadian of African descent alleged he had been discriminated against by his employer because of his race and colour. He stated that during his lengthy employment, he was denied permanent status by his employer while other employees with less seniority were not, and that despite his seniority, he was the first one to be laid off during seasonal layoffs. The employer denied the allegation, but an investigation into the matter showed his complaint had merit. The employer reimbursed the employee for lost wages during the lay-off season, backdated his seniority to reflect prior years of service, and made appropriate pension and benefit adjustments. The complainant was satisfied, and the file was closed.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race and colour
Result: Resolved voluntarily through conciliation

A Caucasian man employed in a restaurant filed a complaint alleging a supervisor favoured employees of East-Asian ancestry over Caucasians. He alleged he was not allowed sick leave while others were, that he was subjected to unfair criticism regarding his work, and that he left employment as a result of the discriminatory treatment. The employer claimed the man was criticized because of concerns with job performance, not because of race or colour. Despite conflicting perspectives, the complainant and employer agreed to participate in conciliation. The employer offered to provide the complainant a letter of reference. The man accepted and the file was closed.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race and colour
Result: Dismissed

A woman who worked as an office clerk complained that her manager made discriminatory comments to her, and treated her differently than others because of her colour and race. She also complained that the employer discriminated against her on the basis of her colour and race by requiring her to undergo a medical exam to verify her illness while she was away on sick leave. The allegations were investigated, and evidence showed that the complaint did not have merit. Evidence showed that the workplace was undergoing many changes and the woman incorrectly assumed that the stress created in the workplace was because of her colour or race. Evidence also showed that it was a requirement of the union contract that employees on medical leave undergo a medical exam and that other employees had been asked to undergo a medical exam while on disability leave. The complaint was dismissed.

Area: Services
Grounds: Race and colour
Result: Dismissed

A man complained that an institutional facility discriminated against him on the basis of his race and colour. He alleged that slurs about his race and colour were made against him, and that important documentation was deliberately misplaced, resulting in negative consequences. The service provider denied knowledge of any racial slurs directed to the man and claimed the misplaced document was due to an administrative error. Evidence obtained during investigation did not support the complaint. There was no evidence that employees of the service provider directed derogatory remarks to the complainant or that there was any connection between the misplaced document and the man's race or colour. The complaint was dismissed.

Area: Services
Ground: Race
Result: Resolved voluntarily at the investigation stage
A man filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Commission. He claimed he was denied service when purchasing a bottle of name-brand mouthwash. The man alleged he was refused service when the store assumed he was Native and an abuser of the product. The store claimed that the product was protected under the Public Health Act and therefore, they could control its sale. The store's policy required a $20.00 purchase when buying a bottle of mouthwash.

An investigation was conducted. The evidence showed that the store made the decision to impose the policy on the complainant, thereby withholding service, and did so based on the factors of race, colour and ancestry. In addition, the store's policy was found to have no basis under the Public Health Act. The complaint was found to have merit and damages were awarded to the complainant for injury to dignity and self-respect.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race and place of origin
Result: Resolved voluntarily through conciliation

A woman filed a complaint that her supervisor told jokes and made comments based on racial stereotypes. She perceived that her supervisor discriminated against her because the jokes and comments were related to her race and place of origin. The respondent maintained that an internal investigation in the workplace had determined that all staff, including the complainant, participated in telling jokes and making comments about the complainant's race. A settlement was reached during conciliation. The settlement included distributing educational material about the Human Rights Commission and about discrimination to the management and staff in the workplace.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race and place of origin
Result: Resolved voluntarily through conciliation

A woman and her husband, both of African ancestry, complained that an employment agency discriminated against them based on their race and place or origin. They alleged that, when they applied for jobs, they were told that their qualifications from another country were not acceptable in Canada. No attempt was made to assess their qualifications. The complainants stated that they were denied a position that was given to a Caucasian applicant who was much less qualified.

During conciliation, the agency denied the allegations but offered job-finding assistance to the couple. When the couple stated that they were currently employed and therefore not in need of such assistance, the agency offered monetary compensation of approximately $600 for the perceived discrimination. The woman and her husband accepted the compensation in resolution of their complaint.

Area: Employment
Ground: Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin
Result: Dismissed

A man of aboriginal ancestry filed a complaint against his employer, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ancestry and place of origin. He alleged a large number of discriminatory incidents culminating in his termination of employment.

Conciliation of this case was not successful, and an investigation was done. The investigation determined that some of the allegations were a result of the complainant's lack of information and, in the other cases, there were reasonable non-discriminatory explanations for the employer's actions. The complaint was dismissed, and the complainant did not appeal the dismissal.

Area: Services
Grounds: Race, gender and ancestry
Result: Discontinued

A woman filed a complaint alleging discrimination in the area of services, on the grounds of gender, ancestry and race. She claimed that, while she was enrolled in a course at a post-secondary institution, she was subjected to remarks of a derogatory nature about her culture, and because of these and other incidents, failed her course. The investigation found merit. The complainant did not settle for the recommended remedy, and her file was discontinued.

Revised: December 14, 2011

 


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