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Racial Discrimination: Human Resources Case Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Resources
Wordcount: 1689 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Racial Discrimination: Human Resources Case Analysis

HR Case Analysis Report

Racial Discrimination


Canada Human Rights Act

Canada Human Rights Legislation forbids prejudice in both employment and the requirement of goods and services, i.e. renting of a space, benefits in a restaurant etc. The reason for this Act is to stretch out the laws in Canada to give impact, inside the domain of issues coming quite close to Parliament to let people live the life they wish without any barriers by discriminatory practices based on 14 grounds. (Canada, 2019) (Associates, 2018)

Racial Harassment in Workplace

The workforce is expanding due to increase in immigrants and the expansion of worldwide activities. This case will illustrate an organizational circumstance affecting a worker’s feelings and the subsequent claims of racial discrimination.

The Situation

A former transit worker in Halifax complains that he has faced racial discrimination at workplace and is looking for more than $1.4 million as compensation for general damages, lost income and benefits. The mechanic who faced racism has filed the case nearly 13 years ago in July 2006. The employee is a bus mechanic who is a white, but his wife is an African-Nova Scotian. It all started at a social function where the mechanic along with his African Nova Scotia wife had to hear from Maddox “We don’t want those kinds of people here. The mechanic also added that Maddox tried to hit the complainant with a bus and in other incident, he was almost hit with the lug nut in his head. Maddox was terminated in 2001 when his behaviour was found to be aggressive and racist at the workplace by the Human Rights Commission board.

An apology was issued by the Chief administrative officer for municipality, Jacques to the complainant and his family and assured that certain actions would be taken to create a harassment-free workplace. (Canadian Press Saff, 2018)

How does it relate to the content of the week?

In Canada, all our human rights are protected by federal and provincial and territorial laws meaning all Canadians should be treated equally under the law.

This discrimination in the case of a transit worker in Halifax, NS clearly depicts the violation of our study of Canada Human Rights Act where human rights legislation prohibits the discrimination in any scenario or place, be it goods or services. Out of the 14 grounds, in this case the discrimination by colour has occurred which is most feared and common. It is a stigma in our society which is punishable by law along with other common grounds such as ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. This type of discrimination is punishable in all jurisdictions and is referred to as a direct type of discrimination.

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We find it similar to the Meiorin Case where a lady was simply laid off because she was not able to pass a certain physical test for which the standard time to completion was 11 minutes for ‘men’ and she completed the same in 11 minutes and 49.4 seconds and was thus declared ‘unfit’ for the job. However, she had been exceeding expectations for the job from past 3 years. We cannot expect women to complete a certain physical task in the same amount as men as no two persons are same. Regardless, she was discriminated based on ‘gender’ and was hence laid off for the same reason. (Associates, 2018)

How does this relate to the HR profession?

Human Resources in any organisation is not just concerned with the recruitment, but also with the welfare of employees. Halifax Transit learned this the hard way. When an ex-employee filed a case against them for workplace harassment. It was after this incident, that they felt a need to have more stringent policies and have a more robust Human Resources department to handle tasks efficiently. Since Halifax Transit had failed to provide a safe working environment and was also accused of failing to respond to such incidents taking place at work. Halifax’s defence claimed to have introduced trainings and changed protocols. (Maximum damages sought in Halifax Transit racism case , 2018). Workplaces are not necessarily immune to such acts of discrimination. A dedicated HR team in any organisation plays a key role here since it is responsible for ensuring the welfare of employees by organising trainings for learning and development, mitigation of risk, performance management and handling the grievances. Also, making sure the organisation is abiding by the governments’ Organisational and Human Rights laws and norms. Moreover, making the recruitment process even more stringent would help in identifying and determining whether a recruit would be suitable for the job. Hence, if Halifax had its Human Resources team functioning how it should, it would not have landed itself in such a situation.

Impact on employees

There were worst impacts that can be suffered by the employees and when it comes to Halifax racism case. This may impact a lot in employee life because this can be directly pushing back the motivation and increasing the gap between the superiors and the crew members. There might also be a risk of depression because of work place harassment. Maddox was bullying his co-workers with racial dialogues and did the harassment on work (Bundale, 2018). This racial activity can leave a huge impact on employees related to the stress, depression, lack of confidence. As, Maddox was also involved in physical deterrence with “black mechanic” after which he was fired from the job and this reflects that Maddox was continuously threatening his co-workers and forced them to leave their jobs because he believes “Minorities are not welcome in Canada” (Bundale, 2018).

Impact on employer

Employees who feel discriminated based upon racial discrimination on workplace should speak up against the issue if they decide to take any kind of legal action against employer which may affect goodwill of the company and will destroy image of company in market. Legal consequences of discrimination in the workplace may also be faced by employer which will take it into a public spotlight which can lead lower public opinion of the employer which results decrease in sales or patronage. It may also affect overall organisational growth as well. They will also start seeking opportunities somewhere else which create a dynamic where employees come and go so frequently it become difficult to hire and train new employees. Company’s budget can also strain by putting financial investment upon hiring and training new employees.



You know your biggest fear has come to face you when you face discriminations such as race, ethnicity, gender etc. Being an immigrant, we all even our acquaintances have in one or other form faced the same. We would label these ‘discriminators’ as cowards where rather than standing up for anything they assume they have ‘earned’ or ‘deserved’ they choose the path of demeaning others and thinking they can grow out bigger out of such scenarios. We all strongly condemn this act of unkindness where we should, and we must stand for ourselves and all those around us. Even in these above-mentioned case studies the justice was served when the parties suffering decided to come forward and say it was ‘enough’ and now they need what they deserved.


  • Canada, G. o. (2019, February 14). Justice Laws Website. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from laws-lois.justice.gc.ca: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/h-6/page-1.html#h-1
  • Canadian Press Saff. (2018, May 30). Global News. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from globalnews.ca: https://globalnews.ca/news/4242644/halifax-bus-mechanic-racism/
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