TORONTO, October 27, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is very concerned with the latest decision of Judge Athanasios D. Hadjis. In a ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Judge Hadjis deemed a complaint of harassment brought by Mr. Jean Luc Morin against his employer, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, unreasonable as the undisputed racial slurs occurred only a few times in a short period, In his judgement, Mr. Hadjis notes: "I am not persuaded that a reasonable person would consider these five or so instances over a short period of time where the term was used, as being serious or repetitive enough to poison the work environment for the Complainant [...]"
The CRRF believes that it is not possible to determine the number of times one should accept humiliation before it is considered reasonable to feel uncomfortable. One occurrence is one too many. All racial slurs reinforce stereotypes and contribute to creating a poisoned work environment. It is even more disturbing when the behaviour is perpetrated by a supervisor.
"If this kind of behaviour is acceptable to the RCMP, then clearly some changes need to be made in the senior management of the organization," notes Andrée Ménard, Acting Chair of the CRRF. "But the ruling of the adjudicator also suggests that there may be a fundamental lack of understanding of the impact of racism among the adjudicators. That, too is very disturbing and speaks to the need for the Tribunal to ensure that there is a common understanding of racism and its impact.
"A clear message should have been sent that it is not acceptable, under any circumstances, to disparage another human being on the basis of the colour of his skin. This judgement shows the extent of work needed to raise awareness at all levels on the permanent damage racist slurs can bring about."