I was not shocked when I read a recent newspaper article that said, “Black student allegedly locked in a room at an elementary school.” For those reading this blog, you are probably wondering why. Simple answer: this was not the first time I heard about such a concerning story.
En décembre 2022, un arbitre du travail québécois1 a ordonné à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) de verser 4 000 $, à titre de dommages moraux, à Gaëlle Étémé Lebogo, une étudiante au doctorat qui s’identifie comme une femme Noire, en raison du harcèlement psychologique et discriminatoire qu’elle a subi dans le cadre d’un contrat de correctrice d’examen.
In December 2022, a Québec labour arbitrator rendered a decision ordering Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) to pay $4,000 in moral damages to Gaëlle Étémé Lebogo, a teacher assistant and PhD student who identifies as a Black woman, following the psychological and discriminatory harassment she suffered in the workplace.
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).