RCMP academy discriminated against Muslim cadet: Tribunal

Tribunal orders reinstatement and more than $500,000 in lost wages to cadet who was kicked out for poor performance
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Cadet faced climate of discrimination

Ali Tahmourpour had always dreamed of becoming a police officer. He pursued that dream by applying to the RCMP training academy in Regina. However, he found conditions for visible minorities like himself made it difficult to complete the training and he was tossed out of the academy three months after joining.

Tahmourpour said his instructors singled him out for extra verbal abuse and he was mocked for things such as his religious pendant and Persian style of signing his name. This climate made it difficult for him to perform his tasks and complete tests to the best of his ability. He also said the evaluations he received were unfairly harsh.

Tahmourpour’s complaint brought to light that systemic discrimination was a serious issue at the academy, as statistics showed a much higher proportion of visible minorities than Caucasians failed training.

Because of the systemic discrimination and differential treatment, the tribunal agreed Tahmourpour’s chances of passing were hindered, as was his earning power if he graduated. Given the liability the tribunal placed on the RCMP for the actions of its instructors, employers would be wise to consider whether their workplaces have any ingrained practices that would put them at risk for a discrimination complaint.

A former RCMP cadet who said he was drummed out of the police service’s training program because of discrimination should be readmitted and compensated for the discriminatory treatment he faced, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.