A number of years ago, I once jokingly said that maybe one day even Facebook posts would be subject to Human Rights complaints. I guess I forgot to knock on wood. Earlier this summer the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
found a disgruntled employee guilty of racial harassment in the workplace for calling her manager a “dirty Mexican”. While that’s a mean, even racist, thing to say, I am nevertheless flabbergasted by the ruling for three reasons:
1. The employee posted this message on her private Facebook page after she got home from work. Furthermore, she never actually named her employer! Somehow that counts as “harassment in the workplace” and deserves censure by the State.
2. If the manager doesn’t like the way his employee is acting, fire her! That should be his responsibility and right. But to go whining to the State about hurt feelings, humiliation and injured dignity and then ask the State to rearrange their work schedules in order to avoid further “workplace harassment” seems downright silly. (The manager actually asks for this: see para. 13 of the decision here.) Would you like the State to sweep the floors and stock the shelves for you too, sir?
3. The third thing that blows my mind is that the Tribunal actually took the case at all. I don’t want to know how many of our tax dollars went into this complaint. Note that the complaint would first have been vetted by the Commission, using up expensive resources there, and then gone on to the Tribunal. Members of the Tribunal are paid quite well and this complaint involved a number of hearings and rulings (not to mention the cost of the recording clerk, the registrar, the rental of space, etc.) Do taxpayers really need to be spending thousands of dollars on this trivial nonsense when Ontario is struggling with an annual $36 billion deficit and a $253 billion debt??
Anyway, the lesson here is… well, watch what you post on Facebook and it’s time to either reform or scrap this expensive bureaucracy.