Tribunal awards $25,000 to woman violated by racially abusive taunts at work

TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - Cheryl Khan was repeatedly subject to racist slurs at her workplace and witnessed verbal assaults directed at other employees of diverse racial backgrounds. She repeatedly told her employer to stop and was ultimately fired on the day after she had taken time off to be with her son in hospital.

"It was so poisonous there - one of the most traumatic experiences of my life," said Ms. Khan. "I feel badly that people are still working there and are afraid to say anything," continued Ms. Khan.

Vice Chair Eric Whist of the Human Rights Tribunal found the "deliberately cruel references to the applicant being a 'Paki,' and having slept with a 'Nigger' and having 'half-Nigger babies' to be indications that the (employer) considered the applicant inferior."

The Vice Chair significantly noted that current employees testifying on the owner's part were "inconsistent, troublesome" and "attempting to hide aspects of (his) behaviour, most particularly his use of racial comments, and present him in a more favourable light." In contrast, the testimony of Ms. Khan and her witnesses was "clear and unproblematic."

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered the trucking company to develop a human rights policy to be given to all current and future employees. Ms. Khan was personally awarded $25,000 for the harm she experienced as a result of the discriminatory treatment and just over $6,750 in lost wages.

Bruce Best, Ms. Khan's lawyer from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre commented, "There continue to be many such workplaces in Ontario today. Ms. Khan was brave to come forward and fight for her rights, despite the fact that she was understandably reluctant to re-live the experience."

SOURCE Human Rights Legal Support Centre

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews: Jennifer Ramsay, Human Rights Legal Support Centre, (416) 326-7253, mobile: (416) 522-5931

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