Discriminatory remarks and unfair dismissal in a company considered inclusive

It all started in the fall of 2019 when Khalid Sbai landed a managerial role at Panthera Dental. The family business in Quebec, then expanding, designs and manufactures dental prostheses. Khalid Sbai got the job after being recommended by a recruiting firm. Born in France, he worked for ten years in Dubai and specialized in international trade.

A few weeks after taking office, Khalid Sbai left Montreal to settle in the Quebec region with his wife and three children.

It’s a family sacrifice, and this is really the case to saysays the man, sitting on his sunny patio in Boischatel.

Panthera Dental specializes in the manufacture of maxillofacial prostheses and orthoses for sleep medicine.

Photo: Radio-Canada

That move was one of the conditions for getting the position, he says, noting that his wife had to find a new job and that his children had to go to a new school.

His experience in Quebec, however, took an unexpected turn. Just over two months after taking office and less than two weeks after moving in, he was fired.

It was a shock, there is no other term. There was no sign to warn me of such an abrupt decision. »

a quote from Khalid Sbai

In January 2020, Khalid Sbai filed a legal action against his former employer for wrongful termination.

fit pas”,”text”:”Ça ne fit pas”}}”>Not that in shape no

During the hearings, Panthera Dental was unable to convince Judge Johanne April that Khalid Sbai was fired for cause. Human Resources Director Nathalie Planche testified that the company’s president, Gabriel Robichaud, informed her that she had to fire Sbai on the grounds that she “didn’t in shape no “.

However, in the days leading up to his dismissal, Khalid Sbai assures us that his boss expressed to him that he was satisfied with his work.

It is Diane Robichaud, the director of the laboratory and Gabriel’s aunt, who would have alerted Gabriel Robichaud about the former employee after having lived with him for a few days. She emphasizes her short attention spanyour lack of interest and its irrelevant questions.

Sbai”,”text”:”Impossible pour moi de travailler ou de collaborer avec M.Sbai”}}”>Impossible for me to work or collaborate with Mr. sbaishe summed it up in court.

However, the judge considers that the company did not take the necessary steps before dismissing him, since his deficiencies were not communicated to him and he was not entitled to a deadline to adapt to management’s expectations.

On the subject, the lawyer specializing in labor law Me François Leduc believes that companies should take note of this aspect of the sentence.

For employers, it is not believing that because an employee is on probation that the employer is free to fire him without thinking that there are resources for the employees.

He also believes that Mr. Sbai and his family as part of his employment is part of the aggravating circumstances for the employer and which justify the compensation prescribed by the court.

Discriminatory remarks

Mr. Sbai is convinced that his dismissal has more to do with his Moroccan origins.

: \”Khalid, bienvenue à Québec, mais sache qu’ici, les gens sont extrêmement racistes!\” Ce à quoi j’ai répondu: \”ce ne sont pas des propos extrêmement rassurants!\””,”text”:”Dès le premier jour, on m’a dit: \”Khalid, bienvenue à Québec, mais sache qu’ici, les gens sont extrêmement racistes!\” Ce à quoi j’ai répondu: \”ce ne sont pas des propos extrêmement rassurants!\””}}”>From day one I was told: “Khalid, welcome to Quebec, but know that people here are extremely racist!” To which I replied: “they are not extremely reassuring words!”

He claims that his Moroccan cultural origins were poorly perceived, even fully accepted by some members of management. The manager also claims to have been a victim of discrimination within his former employer, Pratt & Whitney Canada.

He particularly targets Béatrice Robichaud, vice president of Panthera Dental. The trans businesswoman is known for her involvement in advocating for communities of sexual and gender diversity. According to Khalid Sbai, she would have made discriminatory and intolerant comments against the Muslim religion, referring to her middle east countries when he was born in France.

Beatrice Robichaud

Béatrice Robichaud is the winner of the Relève prize, exceptional woman at the 41st Les Mercuriades gala.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Steve Breton

Before the Court, Béatrice Robichaud denied having made such comments.

The judge did not believe her and ruled that this behavior is unacceptable. She awarded the former employee $10,000 in exemplary damages.

Panthera, through Beatrice’s voice, disrespectfully struck Sbai to her deepest values. »

a quote from Excerpt from the judgment

Belonging to a company that prides itself on being open-minded, that prides itself on having half of its employees from different backgrounds, but which goes against what it claims to do, is something that particularly bothered me and that it is absolutely necessary to denounce.says Khalid Sbai.

Dental étudie présentement la possibilité de porter la cause en appel. Donc, puisque la cause est toujours devant les tribunaux et par respect pour le processus judiciaire, PantheraDental ne fera pas de plus ample commentaire”,”text”:”PantheraDental étudie présentement la possibilité de porter la cause en appel. Donc, puisque la cause est toujours devant les tribunaux et par respect pour le processus judiciaire, PantheraDental ne fera pas de plus ample commentaire”}}”>Panthera Dental is currently considering whether to appeal the case. Therefore, as the case is still in court and out of respect for the legal process, Panthera Dental will not comment further.replied the company in an email to Radio-Canada.

toxic climate

Other testimony corroborates Khalid Sbai’s claims. In a letter delivered to the court, Marie-Pier Blouin, a former human resources director who hired Sbai, recounts a toxic work environment.

Disrespect was practically defended by management. »

a quote from Former Director of Human Resources at Panthera Dental

According to her, family members used to hold heated meetings where screaming was common. The former employee says she bitterly regrets the time she spent at Panthera, where she worked for less than a year. During this period, she claims to have fired a dozen workers, personnes”,”text”:”ce qui est énorme pour une entreprise de 100personnes”}}”>which is huge for a company of 100 peopleshe says.

As for Khalid Sbai, he still hasn’t found a new job. While they love the Quebec area, he and his wife are considering moving again.

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