The Human Rights Tribunal has ruled Peel Police guilty of discriminating against an officer based on race after a three-year battle.
Staff Sgt. Baljiwan (BJ) Sandhu, an officer with 28 years of experience, applied for a promotion as an Inspector but was denied the opportunity.
Despite Sandhu’s experience and awards for solving homicides, drug trafficking cases and more, he was among 2 applicants of 33 applying for the senior position who was denied the opportunity to move forward with the process.
The tribunal meetings revealed that the other officer denied the opportunity for promotion had just a little experience, not at all the number of years Sandhu had at the time.
During testimony, Sandhu shared experiences of the thinly-veiled racism that permeates the force, even in a community as diverse as Peel.
Within his first few days on the job, Sandhu was told by a superior that communications for the force was managed by Peel Police officers. The supervisor went on to remark, “pretty soon you will see that women and Pakis will be managing those duties”.
The harassment continued with peers and senior officers calling Sandhu names, drawing racist cartoons and circulating racist images of him.
Sandhu’s requests from superiors to have the behaviour dealt with were largely ignored.
The ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal comes after the Peel Police Services Board requested an independent auditor come in to conduct an equity audit to ensure the force changes its practices.
The force has regularly come under fire for its controversial decision to continue carding, despite its disproportionate use on people of colour.
It isn’t clear yet how Peel Police plans to settle the dispute with Sandhu.