Posted on January 9, 2023

Disgruntled College Worker Betrayed Employer by Leaking Anti-Racism Training Details: Arbitrator

Tom Blackwell, National Post, January 4, 2023

A labour arbitrator has upheld the firing of a community college employee who leaked details of the school’s anti-racism training to a far-right news site, saying he had betrayed the loyalty that workers legally owe their employers.

Tom Hipsz claimed to be promoting “transparency” around the public institution’s training material but that effort did not override his “serious misconduct,” said the decision rejecting his grievance of the termination.

Hipsz also could have voiced his concerns through more official channels, such as his union or the province’s Human Rights Commission, said arbitrator Gail Misra in the ruling last month, which has not been previously reported.

“He showed reckless disregard for the reputation of his employer,” Misra said. “He has irrevocably breached the trust relationship that is fundamental to the employment relationship.”

Hipsz, 50, who later ran as a candidate for the fringe conservative New Blue Party of Ontario, said Tuesday he was just trying to expose material at Toronto-area’s Sheridan College that he believed would actually create division, rather than foster racial equity.

He leaked material on Sheridan’s equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training to Rebel News, the hard-right commentary website, which left visible Hipsz’s name in a video it produced on the topic, leading the college to him.

The ruling will make other college employees more reluctant to speak out on issues of concern to them, said Hipsz, who has an 11-year-old biracial daughter born to a Black mother.


While Hipsz portrayed himself as a whistleblower of sorts, Canada generally has some of the worst whistleblower-protection laws in the developed world, said David Hutton, a fellow with Metropolitan University’s Centre for Free Expression. And even that legislation at the federal and provincial levels only covers public-sector employees.


Later that year, all college employees were informed they had to undergo EDI training via online modules to address systemic racism in the community.

Hipsz took the courses but complained to a manager that he felt some of the material, referring to white privilege and white supremacy, violated the Ontario Human Rights Code.

He also objected to another EDI program that divided staff into white and people-of-colour caucuses for discussion.

Feeling that he would get no further within the college or his union, Hipsz contacted Rebel News, eventually passing on a slide deck from one of the anti-racism tutorials. {snip}