TORONTO – 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.
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.
© 2019 The Canadian Press