Language discrimination is a harmful reality in many workplaces, and employers need to be proactive in not only preventing it, but in celebrating and promoting language diversity. In a world where 281 million people live in countries other than where they were born, and with a record number of Canadians (13%) reporting a first language other than English or French, this issue is more important than ever. The rise of controversial new voice-altering technology, which perpetuates existing hierarchies about who speaks English with the “right” accent and who does not, adds to this urgency.
If you are an investigator like me, you may have noticed the term “white fragility” has emerged in some of your cases, especially when the investigation involves claims of race-based harassment and/or discrimination. This may be as part of a complainant’s allegation, as in the respondent engaged in “white fragility,” or as part of a respondent’s response, as in “this is not a case of ‘white fragility’.” The concept has sparked much debate, as not everyone agrees with it.
In the world of workplace investigations, we often hear of adopting a trauma-informed approach in sexual harassment cases. We especially heard this during the #MeToo movement, and, indeed, it was necessary.
Growing up as a young Black girl in a predominately White town, I always wore what we call in the Black communities a “protective hair style.” Specifically, I grew up wearing the single braid hairstyle to protect my hair from breakage caused by Old Man Winter.
If you’re a fan of the NBA (“the League”), as I am, you may have heard about two high profile stories that sprang up during the off-season. In the Western Conference, Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns , was suspended for one year and fined $10 million, following a large investigation into allegations of racism, misogyny, and bullying in the workplace (the details of which I will briefly get into later).
In the summer of 2020, there was an incident involving a City of Toronto Municipal Standards Officer, Michael Rushton, and two Black women, Eva Amo-Mensah and Deborah Ampong (the “complainants”).
Like many of you, over the last couple of years, I have been hearing the buzz around the ban of the now controversial critical race theory (CRT) from some of our neighbours south of the border.
In October 2021, my colleague Dana Campbell-Stevens wrote a blog in which she addressed how the law views an individual’s gut feeling about being a victim of discrimination. A recent case from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, Thomas v. Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Inc., raises issues respecting the potential implications of an individual voicing such a gut feeling.