Unjustly dismissed, her ex-employer must pay her $10,000

A black employee who was fired for expressing her disapproval of a racist joke will finally receive $10,000 in damages from her ex-employer, after winning her case at the Human Rights Tribunal.

Unjustly dismissed, her ex-employer must pay her $10,000

A black employee who was fired for expressing her disapproval of a racist joke will finally receive $10,000 in damages from her ex-employer, after winning her case at the Human Rights Tribunal.

According to the facts reported by the judgment, a customer told a racist joke to the manager of a shop in the presence of the only black employee of the business. The latter would not then have expressed her reaction, as she was at her workplace.

The director then repeated this joke during a team dinner. The employee would then have expressed his discomfort and his disapproval, but his boss deemed his reaction too personal.

Without mentioning the event in question and without identifying her employer, the black woman later posted a comment on her personal Facebook page. The next day, she is fired for her "unacceptable behavior".

The woman then filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, which investigated and took the case to court.

The Tribunal found that the grievor was subject to a discriminatory dismissal based on color and race, stating that "an employer cannot require an employee injured by racist behavior on the job or on of work, that she acts as if she did not suffer from it".

His ex-employer was ordered to pay him $10,000 in damages.

A satisfactory judgment

The President of the Commission, Philippe-André Tessier, considers that the judgment which has been rendered is satisfactory.

“The Commission is satisfied with this judgment which demonstrates that racist remarks are unacceptable and that employers must protect their staff from the effects of discrimination in the workplace. It is the responsibility of the employer to intervene diligently according to the circumstances,” he declared.

The victim testified in a sober, dignified and credible way to the feeling of injustice of having been fired for having expressed a disagreement, as well as to the fears that she still lives after this event, specifies the judgment which was rendered.

“These inappropriate and unacceptable remarks made in his workplace by a person in a superior hierarchical position are all the more irresponsible. We hope that this decision sends a clear message not to underestimate the harmful impact of racist remarks in the workplace, both for individuals and the workplace itself," said Myrlande Pierre, vice-president of the Commission.

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