City begins crackdown on harassment in its workforce
Halifax says it’s taking new measures amid mounting claims of both historical and ongoing racial harassment and discrimination within the municipal workforce.
Jacques Dubé, chief administrative officer of the Halifax Regional Municipality, says the city will be engaging an external consultant within 75 days to review the city’s approach on racial harassment and discrimination.
He says Halifax will also be implementing a confidential employee hotline by mid-july for employees who are experiencing harassment but feel uncomfortable going to their supervisor or human resources to report it.
His comments come in the wake of a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry decision that found a city bus mechanic was subjected to a poisonous work environment riddled with unchecked racial discrimination and harassment.
The former Halifax transit worker is seeking more than $1.4 million in general damages, lost earnings and pension.
Dubé says while the case concerns incidents that took place years ago, it is an important reminder that all employees deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
“Issues of racial harassment and discrimination exist in our society and the HRM workplace is not immune,” he said Monday.
The senior bureaucrat said Halifax has long recognized that ongoing efforts to improve the workplace environment are critical for both residents and city staff.
“I pledge that this important work will continue and that new measures will also be taken to address the serious issues of racism, discrimination and harassment within our organization,” Dubé said. “We remain unwavering in our commitment to continuously improving our policies, practices and workplace culture.”
Dubé said the municipality has taken a number of steps to eradicate racism at city hall, including updating corporate diversity and inclusion training — now mandatory for all supervisors and aspiring leaders. Engaging with the African Nova Scotian community at thestar.com/halifax
“HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION EXIST IN OUR SOCIETY AND THE HRM WORKPLACE IS NOT IMMUNE.” Jacques Dubé