Report: Ex-head of Canadian rights tribunal abused workers

April 18, 2013 at 2:55 PM

OTTAWA, April 18 (UPI) -- The former head of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal abused her employees and violated their rights, a government report released Thursday said.

Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion, who investigates public sector workplace complaints, submitted his report on Shirish Chotalia to Parliament, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. He said her conduct was the worst he has ever seen.

Dion told reporters in a conference call Chotalia created a "poisoned atmosphere" while demonstrating a "total lack of respect" for those who worked for her. He said her behavior was often "very strange."

In his report, Dion cited one incident in which Chotalia refused to allow employees to leave their offices when an earthquake rocked Ottawa. In another case, she ordered an employee to wear a heavy set of keys around his or her neck, ignoring the worker's complaints about the weight.

Chotalia frequently made disparaging remarks to employees, Dion said.

A former lawyer in Alberta, Chotalia resigned from the tribunal in November, four years before her term was to expire. The Conservative government appointed her to the post in 2008.

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