Hi, For past three years, I have been the subject of ongoing discrimination, double standard, harassment and bullying by the Dean of Business at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I have collected a number of documents supporting the fact that I have been mistreated unfairly by the Dean in several occasions.
The discriminatory behavior of the Deant oward me has caused me to be distressed at workplace all the time which has directly affected my job performance.
- I am a Canadian-Iranian who moved to Canada in 1989 for continuing my higher educations
- I have been a faculty member at StFX University since July 2001
- I am a tenured faculty member
State/Country relating to question: Canada
I have filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Right Commission but my case has been dismissed because I have not clearly shown that I have been discriminated against because of my national origin, Iran that is. My apeal to their decision was also turned down.
What is the question that you have?
My question obviously is how to stop legally my Dean from harassing me.
My approach to Human Right Commission was unsuccessful. The discrimination and harassment cases within our university are handled by the Human Resource Office which is heavily influenced by the university administration. Most local law firm in Halifax, NS, will not even listen to me because they represent my university in variety of cases and that would be a conflict of interest.
My question here again is what other approach are there to stop this discrimination as these constant mistreatments are becoming unbearable.
Thank you for the reply - it was not clear what information your were seeking.
You could take sue your employer in civil court, claiming harassment by the Dean, and/or constructive dismissal.
For the civil claim, you would try to prove that the conduct of the Dean, for which the University is vicariously liable, has caused you mental anguish and suffering. You would not necessarily have to prove the motive behind such harassment in order to succeed on a civil claim, so proving that this occurred due to discrimination would not strictly be necessary.
To succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal, you would have to prove that the work environment that exists is a result of the actions of the Dean, and that the employer has been aware of the problem and has done nothing to rectify the situation, resulting in a work environment in which it is no longer possible for you to perform your required duties, and that the refusal by the employer to act amounts to effectively dismissing you from your post. As the dismissal was done without any just cause or proper notice, you would seek compensation for such dismissal. Again, it would not be necessary on such a lawsuit to show that the motivation behind the actions of the Dean is rooted in racism or ethnic discrimination or an infringement of a Human Right.
Evidence of the motive behind the Dean's actions is helpful to prove your case in as much as it helps to explain why he would act in such a manner and provides context for his behaviour which makes it easier to accept your version of events that such behaviour has occured. But proving the motive would not be a mandatory part of the case that you would have to meet to succeed on such a claim. You would have to prove what happened, namely that you have had to endure harassment and bullying, as well as the consequences to you personally and professionally from such treatment. But it would not be mandatory in a civil trial to necessarily explain why such treatment has occured. So even with a finding by the Human Rights tribunal no discrimination occurred, this would not prevent a civil court from ruling in your favour on a civil claim regarding harassment or constructive dismissal.
It would not be mandatory to have a lawyer for such a lawsuit, but the law and the procedure involved will be complex and I would recommend having one. It may be necessary to seek a lawyer outside of Halifax to try and avoid the conflict issue. You will want to speak to a lawyer experienced in civil litigation and/or employment law.
Sorry for my delay in replying. I have a few follow-up questions before accepting your answer. You answer so far was very satisfactory.During past three years, I have tried to collect as many discriminatory evidences as possible to approach the problem from outside the university and therefore have not yet informed my employer (university) about the problem.Your answer (civil court and/or constructive dismissal) suggests that I should let the university know at some point about the problem.Now my questions are:Q1- Is it a good time now to inform the university about my problemQ2- Who is best person to be informed about my problem:a- The University presidentb- The Academic Vice-President(AVP)–[Deans work under the AVP]Q3- Is there a reference number assigned to this “JustAnswer” case? In my future questions on the same case, can I always continue with you [Law.Hut] with the same case reference number? This way I don't have explain my case again to a new lawyer.
HelloI am glad the information so far was helpful.It is generally useful to advise the employer sooner rather than later, for several reasons. First, this helps to support that you are having problems, as an obvious question that will be asked if you claim long standing problems is why no report to superiors was made. Second, this puts the employer on notice that there is a problem. This is useful as maybe the employer can take steps to correct the problem without your needing to resort to a lawsuit. But if a lawsuit is necessary, then this can help to make to establish employer liability, in that it can be negligent in the part of an employer or grounds for constructive dismissal to fail to act when there is an alleged problem of bullying or harassment. The employer could be liable in any event because of the actions of the Dean for whom it is vicariously responsible, but the failure to act adds another aspect to the lawsuit. Finally, there is an expectation on you to take whatever reasonable steps you can to minimize your damages or loss, and that would include seeking some action by the employer prior to taking any legal steps.As to who you inform, it should be the person that would be most responsible for policing the actions of the Dean with respect to the professors, or anyone that has a formal role for discipline over the Dean, which sounds to be the AVP in this case. Having said that, there is no strict rule about this at law. If you think going to the President is preferable given the personalities involved or so on, do so. You should perhaps check to see if there is a formal reporting procedure or policy in place for the university also, as that may indicate who you are to contact, and perhaps there is an anti harassment committee or so on that should also be given a copy of the complaint.You can refer at the outset of a future question to my user name, and generally other experts will then leave that question for me. You can request me through that user name also when you list a new question and then I receive an email notification.
with over 15 years experience.