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Racism in the Workplace

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

Significant Human Rights Award Given to 3 Muslim Restaurant Workers

 (Islam v. Big Inc.)

In a recent decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, three Muslim restaurant workers were awarded a total of nearly $100,000K  in damages after it was found that their Employer discriminated against them on the basis of race, colour, place of origin, ethnic origin and creed.

Position and Length of Service

The employees worked in the hospitality industry, at Le Papillion on the Park, a Toronto  restaurant specializing in French Cuisine.  Abdul Malik was employed as the head chef with the Company for 15 years.  Arif Hossain was employed as a sous-chef with the Company for 11 years.  Mohammed Islam was employed with the Company for 2 years, in the most Jr. position of the three, in charge of the salad station, crepe station and baking.

The Tribunal found that the Employees suffered discrimination including harassment which included : forcing its employees to eat pork, contrary to religious beliefs, mocking its employees for speaking Bengali, making derogatory references to its employees based on color and making threats of replacement of their positions with “white staff”.   The Tribunal found that the Employer created a poisoned work environment and made the workplace intolerable for its employees forcing the effective termination of their employment with Company.


The Employer was ordered to pay compensation as follows:

Loss of IncomeDiscrimination
Abdul Malik, head chef$18,632.00$37,000.00
Arif Hussain, sous-chef $7,920.00 $22,000.00
Mohammed Islam, jr. chef $1,040.00$12,000.00

Discrimination award encompasses the following:  violation of right to be free from discrimination in the workplace, injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect including stress caused by failure to investigate complaints of discrimination.

An additional amount of $2000.00 was awarded to each Employee as a result of the Employer’s failure to address complaints of discrimination.

The Employers were further ordered to complete Ontario Human Rights Commission’s training and post Human Rights code cards as well as a workplace policy setting out its responsibilities under the Human Rights Codes as an Employer within the workplace.

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