Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, December 4, 2010 --- The case of the 15 Chinese workers who were discriminated on the job at Calego International in 2006 will be heard before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal on December 13, 16 and 17, 2010, starting at 9:30 AM each day, at the Montreal Courthouse, 1 Notre Dame East, Room 13.04, Montreal.

Members of the Chinese community are encouraged to attend the hearings in support of these workers.

In July 2006, approximately 40 Chinese workers at Calego International Inc., a Montreal-based manufacturer specializing in children's backpacks and accessories, were singled out and received an order to gather and meet company president Stephen Rapps, who blamed them for unsanitary work conditions. The latter also said that they were no longer in China, that they must wash themselves and that they “eat like pigs.” Outraged by the comments, two workers objected and were physically assaulted by a supervisor.

Insulted by the comments, many Chinese workers immediately walked out and came back the day after with a list of conditions, including a written apology from the president, clean working conditions and compensation for violation of their dignity. When the company refused to comply with these demands, many workers immediately quit their jobs. They eventually mandated CRARR to file a complaint on their behalf at the Quebec human rights commission.

In a decision released in September 2009, the Commission ruled that these workers were indeed subject to racially discriminatory conditions in their work and recommended $10,000 for each of the 15 workers, an additional $7,000 for each of the two assaulted workers and workplace measures to respect employees' civil rights. In total, Calego International, its president, a supervisor and the latter's company, Agence Vincent, are ordered to pay $164,000.

The hearings will have simultaneous translation in French, English and Mandarin. Approximately 20 witnesses will testify.