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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I am an elementary teacher in Quebec City and work English

Customer Question

I am an elementary teacher in Quebec City and work for the English speaking school board. Several years ago we got a new principal who is systematically eliminating and harassing teachers and staff over 60. After several yeas of harassment, on the day of my 60th birthday the principal and the school board's head of HR gave me a disciplinary letter and a 3 day suspension without pay for trumped up allegations of inappropriate actions with my students, a grade 6 class. Since the allegations were all false, contrary to my very nature and actually I am one of the nicest and best teachers they have, I was stressed out and in shock, saw my family doctor and was placed on sick leave with medications and a psychologist. I requested a transfer to another school through my union but the school board deigned it. Instead the school principal wrote me a letter expecting my return this August but took my grade 6 class away from me and gave me a grade 2 class. My family doctor does not want me to return to the same school with the same principal because of health reasons. Perhaps a well worded letter from a lawyer representing me may influence the school board to grant my transfer.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 3 months ago.

I am terribly sorry to hear of this awful situation.

It is a deeply troubling state where someone who is responsible for the well-being and education of impressionable and really vulnerable people, which all children are, believes and models such blatantly discriminatory conduct.

The problem you have in dealing with this from a legal perspective is that because you are in a union the union has to represent you and must take the employer on, on your behalf, where necessary. There is no legal way for you to handle this on your own with a lawyer. In fact if you bring in your own lawyer the union will no longer be willing to help you.

But the fact is that the union does not sound like they are doing what they can for you. If they refuse to represent you fairly, which is your legal entitlement then you would bring a complaint against them for unfair representation and if you bring in your own lawyer that is how they are going to interpret your actions.

So your next step should be to go to the union and demand that they assist you. You are being made sick by the principal's actions which are mean-spirited and punitive but also, above all else, unlawful.

And give the union a letter from your employer so they can see how serious this is.

If worse comes to worse you can file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission who will take your complaint if you can show that your union cannot and will not help.

If it will make you feel better or perhaps a bit more empowered you can see your own lawyer for a face to face consultation but you should not tell the union or principal that you are doing this.

Does that help as a starting point?

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