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CSIS accused of violating employee rights

A lawsuit has been filed against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, alleging sexist, racist and homophobic discrimination perpetrated by management. Five employees of the famed intelligence agency familiar to Ontario residents have come forward, accusing the organization of violating their employee rights. The case is currently being reviewed by a federal court, but so far, none of the allegations have been proved in a courtroom setting. 

Of the five employees who have come forward, three are Muslim, one is black and one is openly gay. The lawsuit they have jointly filed has suggested that, over the past several years, all five have been the subject of discrimination, bullying and harassment for their respective races, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. The suit specifies that the harassment has come not only from co-workers but from management as well. 

The director of CSIS has gone on record decrying any of the described behaviour as being against the policy of the organization and has spoken strongly about CSIS' zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination. The lawsuit, which is requesting damages of $35 million, is unique to CSIS, as all named parties, including the complainants and defendants, must be referred to by pseudonyms in order to preserve their anonymity in the intelligence community. However, many of those believed to have bullied or harassed the complainants are said to be senior management. 

Even governmental organizations can fail to protect employee rights, as some Ontario residents are keenly aware. This is why a legal framework exists for those who suffer from harassment and discrimination to escalate their complaints past the management level of their workplace. With the support of an experienced employment attorney, these cases can be brought into public light and handled according to the high standards Canadians expect from their workplaces. 

Source: CBC Toronto, "$35M lawsuit alleges racist, sexist and homophobic discrimination at CSIS", Trevor Dunn, July 14, 2017

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