Human rights complaint filed against National Bank for racial discrimination
A black man in Brossard has filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for racial discrimination against National Bank, after a routine transaction took a turn for the worse.
Armstrong Victor says after leaving the bank’s DIX30 branch, security guards followed him to his workplace — a short walk away — and detained him in front of his colleagues, falsely accusing him of stealing a bank stamp, without any evidence.
“I asked did you guys look at the cameras and everything? And there was no answer there. They kind of looked at each other and didn’t know what to say,” Victor explained.
Victor says the event has left him ridden with anxiety and even cost him his job.
“Everything kind of crumbled in my personal life after that incident, everything went south. It was very hard for me to deal, even throughout the day. It’s hard for me to sleep,” Victor said.
The National Bank has offered Victor compensation. After the incident, the branch manager initially offered him an apology and a $50 Visa card.
“I thought that was really insulting,” Victor said.
Victor then placed a complaint to the bank’s Ombudsman. When they responded months later, the bank offered him $500, a move Victor says added insult to injury.
“I felt like [as] a black man, maybe they think low of me, low of us,” Victor said.
The National Bank is calling the event “sad.”
“It’s unacceptable. We understand the feelings that Mr. Victor may have,” said Claude Breton, vice-president of internal affairs at National Bank.
Breton says they are even prepared to offer him more money, but Victor won’t return their phone calls.
“Call us back. I mean, we’re not done. Those things don’t happen at National Bank. It’s just really, really surprising that the discrimination issue did not come up when we spoke,” Breton explained.
But Victor says he wants to set an example. He is seeking $10,000 in damages for financial and psychological hardship as a result of racial discrimination, and for the bank to improve its response when dealing with discrimination, among other things.
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