Employer Calls Migrant Workers “Monkeys” and then Fires Employee Following Complaint

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Race, Reprisal
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wealth Disparity

In 2009, Adrian Monrose came to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program to work for Double Diamond Acres Ltd. During the course of his employment, Monrose and his fellow migrant workers were referred to as “monkeys” by persons in authority at Double Diamond. Monrose did something that migrant workers typically do not do (due to the significant power imbalance between employers and migrant workers) – he complained to management.

A couple of weeks later his employment was terminated. Following a hearing, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario concluded that Monrose was fired, at least in part, because he had complained about the “monkey” comment. Vice-Chair David Muir awarded Monrose $3,000.00 for damages to feelings, dignity and self-respect, stating:

Amongst the factors that I have considered in making this assessment was the applicant’s evidence of how it affected him to be referred to as a monkey by a supervisor and an owner of the company. I have also considered the context in which these incidents occurred, a greenhouse occupation in front of a number of other racialized migrant workers…

Vice-Chair Muir awarded a further $15,000.00 to Monrose for losses associated with his right to be free from reprisal, stating:

I have accepted…evidence…of the unique vulnerability of migrant workers and their understandable reluctance to stand up for their rights. The applicant did so in this case and paid a significant price for his having done so.

Monrose also received lost wages for the remainder of his contract that he would have received had he not been terminated (12 weeks), and Double Diamond was ordered to develop appropriate human rights policies and ensure that all employees with supervisory responsibilities complete human rights training.

Case Citation:    Adrian Monrose v. Double Diamond Acres Limited and Jeffrey Carreiro, 2013 HRTO 1273

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