City of Montreal forced to pay 'historic' settlement to employee
Published Tuesday, June 11, 2013 1:16PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:54PM EDT
MONTREAL—The City of Montreal has been ordered to pay out an “historic” settlement to an employee after a court found systematic racism led to him being passed over for promotions.
The Centre for Research and Action on Race Relations (CRARR) heralded a decision that pays Olthene Tanisma, a Haitian-born Montrealer, $30,000 following an 11-year ordeal.
Tanisma, an urban planner for the City of Montreal, said he had regained his pride and dignity after the city fought him the whole way.
“It was a tough battle, both costly and emotionally,” Tanisma said.
The city created a transition committee after the mergers in 2001, and four management positions opened up. Tanisma applied but was passed up because he was not a manager, although fellow workers were being promoted to temporary manager positions to qualify for the job. He was not even asked to interview.
"When they hired four of my colleagues a few weeks later, they had no answer," said Tanisma, who originally took the case to the Human Rights Tribunal.
The city can still appeal the decision. But it must now change the way it advertises jobs.
“The judge ordered the city to advertise externally and internally all positions," said Fo Niemi of CRAAR. “It’s a clear signal to stop doing things on the sly and to give positions to friends and those you like.”