Ontario Public Employees Suing Province over Alleged Anti-Black Racism

Huffington Post, March 14, 2019

Two Ontario public service employees have launched a lawsuit against the provincial government and the unions that represent them, alleging they’ve been subjected to systemic racism for years.

Jean-Marie Dixon and Hentrose Nelson claim they experienced prolonged anti-black racism that led to harassment and mistreatment over their careers in the Ontario Public Service.

They allege such mistreatment took the form of aggression from colleagues, co-ordinated attempts at intimidation, being mistaken for janitorial staff and demotion from long-held positions.

Unions allegedly didn’t respond

The women also allege the unions they belong to failed to respond to their complaints and helped uphold a culture of systemic racism.

The $26-million lawsuit, which contains unproven allegations, calls for a number of actions, including a “truth and conciliation” commission for racialized employees of the Ontario Public Service and anti-racism training for all staff.

The government and one of the unions named in the suit didn’t respond to request for comment, while another union — The Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario — said it couldn’t comment on individual cases but it had long advocated for an end to systemic discrimination within the public service.

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