A Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission Board of Inquiry recently found that the Black Educators’ Association (BEA), an agency funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, discriminated against former employee Rachel Brothers because of her color. According to Donald C. Murray, who was appointed to hear the case by the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court in Nova Scotia, the BEA fired Ms. Brothers, who is bi-racial, because she was not “black enough” for them.
Mr. Murray found that BEA employees made comments about Ms. Brothers’ relatively light brown skin. BEA’s executive director also heard these types of comments and did nothing to discourage them. The BEA ultimately fired Ms. Brothers supposedly due to concerns about the stability of her office. Those concerns, which Mr. Murray found to be vague and not credible, were brought forward by a subordinate of Ms. Brothers with demonstrated hostility toward Ms. Brothers because of her skin color.
“We take issues of discrimination very seriously at the department,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “It is important that the BEA, and every other organization funded by the department, ensure they are respectful and equitable to their employees and clients at all time. I expect that the BEA will learn from this as they move forward and ensure that they create a workplace where discrimination will not be tolerated.”
While this case occurred in Canada, color discrimination is also illegal under both Maine and federal law. Bi-racial people, like Ms. Brothers, sometimes experience color discrimination because they do not fit the stereotypical mold of one particular race. Someone who is half black and half white could experience discrimination because she is not “black enough” or not “white enough.” The Maine Employee Rights Group is committed to fighting all forms of unlawful discrimination, including color discrimination. If you’ve experienced color discrimination, contact us to learn more about your rights.