Police officer details discrimination at Human Rights Tribunal hearing


Staff Sgt. Baljiwan (B.J.) Sandhu

Brampton, November 13 (CINEWS): At a Human Rights Tribunal hearing heard this Monday, Staff Sgt. Baljiwan (B.J.) Sandhu, one of the first Peel police officers of South Asian descent had a disturbing litany of complaints against his mostly Caucasian peers and higher-ups who subjected him to racist taunts and prevented him from advancing to a more senior position despite having the qualifications and experience.
Mr Sandhu joined the Peel police force in 1989 and over time kept hearing racist comments. One time, he walked into the police gym and an officer yelled, ‘Hey, no one called a cab.’ The whole room, more than 100 officers sitting on bleachers, were sitting there laughing at me,” Sandhu said, adding that it was “humiliating” and “embarrassing.” But he endured it all because he was looking at the big picture.
But all that changed in 2013 when he was not considered for a promotion.
At the hearing, Glenn Christie, the lawyer representing Peel police in the human rights complaint, tried unsuccessfully to prevent Sandhu from presenting evidence on his historic treatment, arguing it was not relevant to his failed promotion effort in 2013, the subject of the hearings. Tribunal vice-chair Bruce Best ruled it was relevant, agreeing with Sandhu’s lawyer, Kelley Bryan, who argued that the historic evidence helped establish “an embedded discriminatory attitude” that was allegedly prevalent throughout the force.
Meanwhile, the tribunal heard that almost as soon as the taunts and discrimination began, while other new hires were still being assessed, Sandhu was being seconded to help with a range of complex cases because of his South Asian language skills — he speaks Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu — cultural knowledge and extensive contacts. Such language skills proved to be very useful considering the burgeoning population of South Asians.
For all his hard work and dedication, he was given many awards including one for humanitarian of the year and the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal awarded to Sandhu in 2012 for his outstanding contribution to policing and community safety.
He was eventually promoted to sergeant and then in 2009 to staff sergeant.
There seemed to have been in place a glass ceiling, because when Sandhu aspired to apply for a “senior officer” position in 2013, he hit a road block.
The hearing heard that despite being tapped by the force numerous times to work as an “acting inspector,” racking up 872 hours in that role, Sandhu was one of only two applicants, out of 33, who was not considered for promotion to eight inspector positions filled in 2013.
Whether it is the police force or city hall or in management circles in corporate Canada, candidates of ethnic backgrounds tend to face obstacles in their path. It is often a case of the Old Boys Network that works against the advancement of ethnic minorities. Only one in ten such candidates who fail to get promoted to a position protest publically. Staff Sgt. Baljiwan (B.J.) Sandhu is one of them.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply