A Peel police officer has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, alleging that he was discriminated and passed over for a promotion.
Det. Sgt. Baljiwan Singh Sandhu, of Mississauga, filed the complaint on Jan. 21, which outlines his allegations against the police force.
According to his complaint, Sandhu, who’s originally from India and became a Canadian citizen in 1985, faced “a steady barrage of humiliation, embarrassment, hurtfulness and harassment of a discriminatory nature” from Peel police colleagues during his 25 years of service.
Sandhu’s lawyer Barry Swadron said his client has faced discrimination throughout his service but had finally had enough when he didn’t get his promotion.
Last February, Sandhu applied for one of the seven inspector vacancies, but was told during a meeting with his superintendent and commanding officer they wouldn’t endorse his application and recommended he withdraw his application.
Sandhu’s lawyer said the officer was told his work with Peel’s South Asian and black communities wasn’t real policing. (Fifty-seven per cent of Peel’s population is South Asian, black, Chinese and other ethnicities. But about 15 per cent of Peel police are minorities, according to the force’s 2012 performance report.)
“In the region of Peel, the most real policing is dealing with the diverse community but he has done so in every aspect of policing,” Swadron said, referring to his client’s work on homicide and drug trafficking investigations.
Sandhu was told by his superiors it’d be better he withdraw his application than to get a rejection. But he declined to do so.
He was given a negative assessment on Feb. 28, 2013, and was told he didn’t have sufficient experience as a “front line uniform supervisor” even though he had 872 hours as an acting inspector with the diversity relations unit.
He grieved the decision. The union declined to comment. And the police force declined to comment saying it hasn’t received the complaint.
“Attaining this rank has been a long-held dream of mine,” Sandhu stated in the complaint. “I felt that I had amassed the requisite skills and experience in order to be considered a viable candidate for a promotion.”
He says the force was happy to make use of his linguistic abilities (he speaks Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu) and his cultural background but “my commanding officers were not interested in my career development.”
Since Sandhu didn’t have experience as a front-line uniform supervisor, his superiors recommended by that he gain some experience at one of the four public divisions.
However, his application last spring for a transfer to 21 Division wasn’t granted even though the division superintendent appeared to be supportive of his request because he was told “transfer capacity had been reached.”
A tribunal spokeswoman said the Peel force has 35 days to file a response. Mediation could be scheduled within three months if both sides agree to it.
Sandhu’s lawyer said his client, who’s seeking to be promoted and $1 million for the suffering endured over the years, agrees to mediation.
If there’s no agreement, the complaint would go to a tribunal hearing, which would take months.