Woman Fired Because She Is 'Not Black Enough'

By Albert Lin

A Canadian woman has been awarded monetary damages after an arbitrator found that she was fired for not being Black enough.

Rachel Brothers, who is biracial, worked as a Regional Educator for the Black Educators Association’s office in Kentville, Nova Scotia, in 2006 for 11 months before she was fired that December.

In a ruling released by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Board of Inquiry Chair Donald Murray determined that Brothers was the victim of workplace discrimination. He ordered that the BEA compensate Brothers $11,000 Canadian, plus 18 months’ worth of interest, for general damages and loss of income.

Murray wrote in his decision that Brothers “had been successfully undermined in her employment by one of her subordinates: Catherine Collier. It is clear to me that Ms. Brothers was undermined in part because she was younger than, and not as Black as, Ms. Collier thought that Ms. Brothers should be.” Collier had lost out on the job that went to Brothers, but as a longer-tenured employee, she had the ear of the BEA’s leadership.

Brothers testified that Collier told her that her skin color would present a problem with the Black community served by the BEA, because Brothers couldn’t “officially represent them” because she “wasn’t Black enough.” Brothers’ assistant also testified that Collier asked her, “Are you even Black” Murray called Collier’s behavior “appalling.”

In staff meetings, multiple colleagues made mention of Brothers’ skin color and her age. In one instance, another coworker, Crystal States, told Brothers that she “should go work for whitey” because she is light-skinned. These comments were corroborated by Claudette Colley, a former colleague whom Murray termed “the one truly independent witness in this matter.” (States testified that her comment should actually be seen as a compliment.)

Ultimately, Murray concluded that Acting Executive Director Jacqueline Smith-Herriottwho is also biracialwas aware that insensitive comments were being made and did nothing about it. “Her actions,” Murray wrote,”demonstrated that heroffice waspersistently deaf when those concerns involvedMs.Brothersor Ms.Brothers’ assistant.”

The BEA claimed Brothers was fired because of expense-report inconsistencies (for which she reimbursed the association) and because she was considered a probationary employeeboth of which Murray repudiated. His conclusion: “The only remaining articulable reason for Ms. Brothers’ termination on the evidence before me is that Ms. Brothers’ color was causing the BEA a problem. They solved the problem by terminating Ms. Brothers.”

The Black Educators Association said in a statement that it is reviewing Murray’s decision and will consult with legal counsel on next steps: “Where the BEA is a nonprofit organization, any decision to incur legal costs and divert human resources must be weighed against the value of putting these resources to use ensuring the development of an equitable education system, so that AfricanNova Scotian learners are able to achieve their maximum potential, as the BEA has done for the past 45 years.”

According to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Association’s website, convening a board of inquiry is a last-ditch effort to help resolve a human-rights complaint. A board of inquiry “is an independent administrative tribunal separate and apart from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.” The NSHRC’s commissioners decide if a board of inquiry is needed, and the chief judge of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia selects someone from a 10-person roster to serve as the board’s chair to arbitrate the dispute and, if necessary, to rule on it.

Latest News

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on Abbott.com – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…

Cox Crews Mobilized to Reconnect Gulf Coast

Originally published on Cox.com Cox has mobilized its employees with support from outside of the Gulf Coast area to begin assessing damage and restoring service outages caused by Hurricane Sally. In times like this, we understand it is important to stay connected and we want our services to help you…