Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, November 6, 2015 — After having accepted last August to participate in mediation, Madisons New York Grill and Bar changed its position a few days and ended the option of amicable resolution of the civil rights complaint filed by CRARR on behalf of Ms. Lettia McNickle.

Mediation was set for later this month.

The complaint was filed last April with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, after Ms. McNickle complained of race and gender discrimination in employment due in part to her hair braids, which reflect her Black heritage.

The case will now be sent to investigation, and will likely result in the Commission's finding of race and gender-based discrimination. The investigation will last between two and three years, and the case will likely head to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal if the restaurant refuses to comply with the Commission's eventual decision in favor of Ms. McNickle. This will give an opportunity for the courts to examine the issue of Black woman's hair-related discrimination and the intersectionality of race and gender.

“While we regret that Madisons' change of position at the last minute, we welcome the opportunity to have the Human Rights Tribunal to eventually be seized with this case, since it will help create Canadian jurisprudence on discrimination against Black women and their hairstyle,” noted CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“The case will also provide an opportunity for Black academics, activists and women to mobilize and generate public discussions about this particular form of discrimination,” he added.