A Sudbury man has been awarded more than $24,000 after he was subject to anti-Semitic insults and was spit on by a supervisor while working at a local pizza restaurant.
Details of the case were aired at a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hearing Dec. 23. The victim worked as a part-time driver and had what the transcripts describe as a “difficult working relationship” with his supervisor.
According to the victim's testimony, the first incident took place Jan. 10, 2015. As part of his duties at the end of the shift, he was supposed to mop the floors, after which he was supposed to empty the mop bucket. He failed to empty the bucket the previous night, and was told by the franchise owner that it had to be done.
But his supervisor confronted him over the same issue, who began yelling at him to “empty the mop bucket now.”
The victim told his supervisor that he had already discussed the issue with the owner, and would empty it as soon as he finished another task he was doing. That response angered the supervisor, who again yelled at the victim.
When the victim took issue with his tone and asked why he was treating him that way, the supervisor responded, “I will knock you the f---k out.”
When the victim threatened to call police, the supervisor responded, “You would call the cops, you f---king Jew.”
When he went outside to calm down, the supervisor followed him, said he was fired and went into his vehicle without permission to take the debit machine.
The next day, Jan. 11, the franchise owner called the victim, assured him he had spoken to the supervisor and asked him to come back to work. He agreed, returning that evening. Everything was fine until the owner left the store.
After returning from a delivery, the supervisor began yelling at the victim again. The victim replied that he had no right to talk to him that way and owed him an apology.
“The applicant states that (the supervisor) then exploded, and said that he was the applicant’s boss and could talk to the applicant any way he deemed fit, and that the applicant did not know how to keep his 'Jew mouth' shut,” the transcripts say. “The applicant states that R.B. then said that the applicant was fired.”
As he tried to cash out and leave, the supervisor spit in his face, and said, “There is your apology.”
When the victim tried to phone police, the supervisor grabbed the phone out of his hands and pushed him out of the store. Police were called, but when they arrived the next day to interview the victim, they didn't lay charges, saying it was “a he said, he said situation.”
A few days later, the owner of the pizza parlour called the victim and threatened to tell OSAP he was working while attending school if the victim made a human rights complaint.
The victim told him to do what he had to do and to never call him again.
In his evidence, the store owner admitted there was tension between the two, but said he had asked other staff members if the supervisor had made slurs or spit in the victim's face, and they said no.
However, video footage from the store was not preserved, and the owner didn't bring any of the employees who witnessed the incidents.
Update: Pizza restaurant's new owner issues statement on ruling
The current owner of the Chelmsford pizza restaurant named in this Human Rights Tribunal hearing wants the public to know that the incidents in question occurred under the previous ownership, not on his watch.
Norm Cardinal, owner of Stackhouse Pizza in Chelmsford, contacted Sudbury.com to say he wants to the public to know that the pizza restaurant has been under new ownership since July 2015, when he took over. The incidents involving anti-Semitic slurs date from January 2015, seven months before he took ownership.
"This is definitely not something we would ever allow to happen," Cardinal said this afternoon.