Probe is looking at how complaints are dealt with in the workplace
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is investigating a complaint against the Ryerson Students’ Union over an alleged lack of policies regarding how complaints are handled in the workplace.
In an email to the Ryersonian, ministry media relations spokesperson Janet Deline said that the ministry was “notified” of a complaint made against the union on Nov. 29. The complaint raised concerns about the lack of procedures to handle workplace harassment reports.
“On Nov. 29, 2019, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development was notified of a complaint against Ryerson Students’ Union in Toronto. It was reported that there is no one to report workplace harassment to other than the persons who are involved in the harassment matter,” Deline wrote in the email.
The report said that a ministry inspector conducted a field visit on Dec. 19. However, no orders or requirements were given. The investigation is ongoing.
Deline also said that there have been two employment standards claims filed against the RSU since Oct. 1, but no information can be given at this time.
This report comes after the RSU’s former vice-president of education Kwaku Agyemang published a public Facebook post that announced his resignation. The post also accused the union of alleged internal corruption, discriminatory practices and workplace harassment. According to the post, Agyemang said that he is consulting “legal advisers” and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to determine next steps.
In a phone call with the Ryersonian, Agyemang said he filed complaints about alleged workplace harassment to the ministry. He also filed a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board because the union allegedly withheld his pay, citing a decision by the board that he had to makeup his lost hours without pay. He had to withdraw the complaint, however, because the hours were mandated through a contract that couldn’t be re-negotiated after he signed it.
“I still have to protect myself [from false accusations] and retaliation that I may receive for revealing information to hold the union accountable,” Agyemang said. “I want to stand up for other Ryerson students…[I want to continue] doing that work.”
RSU president Vanessa Henry denied Agyemang’s allegations and said the union has consulted legal counsel about defamation laws.
“False news spreads faster than the truth. As a former executive, he is supposed to have the best interests of the organization in mind, and that doesn’t go away when he resigns. We will take legal action if he does violate [his non-disclosure agreement],” Henry said in a meeting with the Ryersonian.
Currently, there is no timeline for the ministry investigation.