RCMP must reinstate cadet <!--sponsoredarticle-->

Tribunal awards cadet up to $500,000

A former RCMP cadet who said he was drummed out of the Mounties’ training program because of discrimination should be readmitted and compensated, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

Ali Tahmourpour entered the RCMP’s training academy in Regina in July 1999. He said he encountered difficulties right from the beginning due to the fact he was Muslim and Iranian.

On Tahmourpour’s first day, he discovered the RCMP dress code prohibited cadets from wearing jewelry except for medic alert bracelets. Tahmourpour explained privately to an instructor that he wore a religious pendant he didn’t wish to remove. The instructor agreed but then told all the cadets, in what Tahmourpour described as a sarcastic and condescending tone, nobody could wear jewelry accept for “Ali, here.” Tahmourpour said he felt uncomfortable and singled out.

The discrimination continued with the instructor for the firearms unit, who Tahmourpour said often yelled insults in his ear such as “loser” and “coward” and told him he was “useless” and “incompetent.” Though the corporal yelled at and insulted all cadets, Tahmourpour said he directed more attention at him.

The firearms instructor admitted he yelled at and insulted cadets frequently, but denied singling out Tahmourpour. The firearms course was a dangerous environment, he said, so he had to be tough to ensure cadets were at their best.

On Sept. 8, 1999, Tahmourpour received a performance feedback sheet where he received 12 “needs improvement” grades in applied police sciences as well as two “needs improvement” and one “unacceptable” ratings in firearms. His problems in applied police sciences stemmed from his communication skills, where the instructors felt he demonstrated weakness during different exercises. In firearms, he received a second “unacceptable” rating after failing two inspections.

Tahmourpour was given one month to improve. One day before the deadline, Tahmourpour’s instructors requested the termination of his training contract. They claimed he hadn’t shown improvement and was going to receive other poor ratings the next day.

Tahmourpour disputed both the Sept. 8 feedback and the assertion he hadn’t shown improvement, claiming his evaluation wasn’t an accurate representation of his performance and the discrimination made it difficult to perform to the best of his abilities. He testified he often felt alienated and vulnerable because his instructors focused negative attention on him. He also said his poor grade in firearms was false because his pistol had been clean but the instructor held him to a different standard.

Tahmourpour also didn’t receive any formal feedback on what he needed to improve before the Sept. 8 evaluation, which was contrary to standard procedure. Without feedback, cadets normally assume their performance is at an acceptable level. This suggested, the tribunal said, “there was another factor influencing the feedback besides the instructors’ concerns about Mr. Tahmourpour’s performance.”

The tribunal determined the discrimination Tahmourpour faced at the academy was a factor in his ability to complete the training and in his termination. It ordered the RCMP to offer him reinstatement and pay him the difference between what his RCMP salary would have been over what an average job in Canada would pay since the graduation of his class in 2000. The RCMP was also ordered to pay full salary and benefits for a two-year period after his termination during which he was unable to work due to stress. Finally, the tribunal awarded Tahmourpour $30,500 in damages for pain and suffering, for an estimated total of $500,000.

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