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Montreal, January 12, 2015 --- CRARR will lend assistance to Rose Tandel, the former Concordia University Gym employee who faced constructive dismissal from her job in 2013 due to discrimination and other questionable management practices she experienced following her refusal to obey her supervisor’s instruction, which she deemed to be against Quebec’s civil rights law.

After four years working as a gym monitor, personal trainer and CRP instructor, Ms. Tandel began to experience problems at work after she questioned her supervisor’s instruction that she asked a Muslim colleague to stop praying at work. When she informed her supervisor that such an action contravened the Quebec human rights Charter, she was told that the Charter “does not apply to Concordia.”

Job-related complications occurred soon after she unsuccessfully sought assistance from Concordia’s Office of Rights and Responsibilities and Human Resources Department. She was accused by her supervisor and the university for misconduct, theft, fraud and overpayment. She was then required by Concordia’s Human Resources Department to attend four disciplinary hearings between May and October 2013, often without proper notice and procedural fairness.

She was even suspended when she challenged major procedural problems with some of these hearings, such as management’s failure to inform her of the nature of charges against her, and the fact that she appeared alone, unassisted, to face accusations from her supervisor and up to two senior Human Resource representatives.

In January 2014, unable to withstand what she considered to be continuous intimidation, constructive dismissal and violation of her civil rights, she did not go back to work, suffering a substantial loss of income, dignity and reputation.

Ms. Tandel then filed a complaint of psychological harassment and illegal employer practices, with the Labor Standards Commission (Commission des normes du travail), which has transferred her case to the Labor Relations Commission, a specialized administrative tribunal. The case is now set for a hearing before the Labor Relations tribunal on February 16, 2015, after a failed attempt at conciliation before Christmas.

In the mean time, she also filed a $60,000 defamation lawsuit against her supervisor.

She also contacted the Concordia Student Union Legal Information Clinic (LIC) which reviewed her case and quickly referred it to CRARR.

“The evidence does point to anti-Muslim bias, a poisoned work environment caused by race and religious discrimination, and problematic management’s handling of her case that caused further breaches of her civil rights,” said CRARR’s Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“We are looking into the option of requesting a broader systemic investigation by the human rights commission into Ms. Tandel’s ordeal, from how Muslim and racialized employees were treated at the Gym, to the way she was treated by Concordia’s management after she complained about discrimination on the job,” Mr. Niemi said.

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