Transit user settles with STM over language spat
After 10 months, a Montreal public transit user has settled his language dispute with the Société de transport de Montréal.
Dorion resident Michael Dunning frequently uses the Montreal metro when he's in the city, but last July, a visit to a ticket booth at Atwater Station ended badly when the STM refused to serve him in English.
“I was told, ‘We don't serve English people,’” said Dunning, describing how he was taken aback. “Right after they started cussing, swearing in French and saying all kinds of derogatory remarks.”
Dunning didn't have time to file his complaint immediately, but when he contacted the STM a short while later, he was shocked to discover that the second exchange went no better than the first.
“When I called the complaint department, they said, ‘We don't take English complaints,’ very rudely, and they hung up,” he said.
After contacting media with his story and filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, the STM finally reacted.
Dunning has received a settlement after negotiation, though as per the terms of the agreement, Dunning is not allowed to discuss the details.
“I'm not really happy with the settlement but I had to take it because otherwise by the time I went to court, the court date, it would have been three or four years and then some,” he said, adding, “I'm happy that I did get a response from the STM. They did correct the situation, they did apologize.”
Dunning received aletter acknowledging that he was "hurt by the comments uttered by an employee," adding that it was addressed with the employee. No one from the STM was available Saturday to explain to CTV Montreal how exactly the issue was addressed.
In 2012, dozens of language-based complaints filed with the STM.
Dunning said he hopes his small victory will encourage others to file complaints if necessary.
“Stand up for your rights,” he said. “If people won't do this, you won't get anywhere in life.”