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Montreal discrimination case over woman’s hairstyle will proceed to Human Rights Tribunal

Lettia McNickle talks about her case against the Montreal steakhouse where she once worked.
Lettia McNickle talks about her case against the Montreal steakhouse where she once worked. Anne Leclair / Global News

A young Montreal woman who was sent home from work for having cornrows in her hair will be taking her case before the Human Rights Tribunal.

Last fall, the Quebec Human Rights Commission ruled Lettia McNickle was the victim of racial and gender discrimination. She alleges that her boss at Madisons New York Bar and Grill told her to leave in November 2014 over her braids, and McNickle claimed she lost hours of work because of it.

The owner of the steakhouse in downtown Montreal was ordered by the commission to pay $14,500 in damages to the former hostess.

READ MORE: Montreal woman wins case after losing job at Madisons because of her hair

However, McNickle did not receive the money by the Dec. 21, 2018 deadline set out by the commission. The case will now proceed to the Human Rights Tribunal.

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“I am disappointed at the fact that they are not willing to put this behind us as a lesson learned but I have no intentions of backing down no matter what it takes,” said McNickle in a statement to Global News.

“Let’s take it to court.”

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The Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, which has represented McNickle since the beginning, said that she requested the case be brought before the tribunal last week after the restaurant did not comply and “discussions between the parties have been unable to lead to a satisfactory conclusion.”

WATCH: Quebec Human Rights Commission rules in favour of Lettia McNickle

Quebec Human Rights Commission rules in favour of woman who lost job at Madisons
Quebec Human Rights Commission rules in favour of woman who lost job at Madisons

McNickle said on Tuesday the decision to take her case higher up is “just another opportunity for me to stand up for young black women.”

“I’m going to need the support and strength to fight once again because it will be another long journey,” she said.

Global News has reached out to Madisons for comment but has yet to hear back.

READ MORE: Human Rights Commission investigates racial discrimination at Madisons

—With files from Global’s Anne Leclair

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