A human rights complaint filed by Hamilton Board of Education Chair Todd White against NDP MPP Paul Miller, brings to three the total number of Human Rights complaints filed against Hamilton NDP members of the Ontario Legislature. Earlier the Bay Observer reported that two constituency workers in the office of Hamilton Mountain NDP MPP Monique Taylor had filed claims charging harassment, inappropriate conduct, and other allegations, including pressure to file a false claim of sexual harassment against a co-worker in order to provide grounds for her termination.
In Todd White’s application he describes an 11- year employment history as a constituency worker for MPP Paul Miller; which went sour in the last two years as White and his wife started a family, making White less available for after-hours political work on behalf of the MPP. The application states that Miller abused his public office “through verbal and written direction that staff perform…Paul Miller re-election activities as paid public employees or face disciplinary action. ”White says Miller commenced a campaign to terminate him, and bragged about his plan to outsiders. In addition, White alleges Miller poisoned the office workplace with his “routine racist, sexist and homophobic comments”.
White alleges Miller denigrated him in a conversation with a co-worker which the co-worker tape recorded on his phone. Wrote White, “The video shows my employer discussing plans to return me to full-time, a job that I could not perform given my new family responsibilities and other commitments. He expresses hope that I would quit and boasts that the constituency office is “not going to be good atmosphere to work in” until he finds a way to end my employment.
Some relevant statements include:
I don’t know if I can force him to go back to full-time, but I’m going to try.”
Paul Miller: “He’s going to get a letter setting out the parameters on the 30th of the month. Send a letter, tell him that I want him back full-time. And if he doesn’t want to do it, maybe he’ll quit. That’s even better.”
Paul Miller: “I am not going to tolerate bullshit from him. So, first thing he does, big trouble. He’ll fuck up eventually. He’ll do something.”
Paul Miller: “I’m done with him. You don’t not talk to me for 10 months [parental leave] after all I did for that guy. Treat me like that. Disrespectful. Doesn’t happen. No, he’s done, he’s done with me. Unless he comes crawling. He ain’t going to do that. He won’t do that. Don’t worry about it. Nope, he’s done with me.”
Paul Miller: “I haven’t anything about Todd playing games behind my back yet. I haven’t heard any sabotage yet, but I’m sure there is something. He wants my job. He’d go down in flames, because I’d get him.”
Two former workers in Monique Taylor’s office alleged that in addition to the harassment and bullying, she made workers uncomfortable by making “comments which were unwarranted and sexual in nature…where she made comments about her personal relationships.”
A recurring theme through the complaints filed against the two MPP’s is the issue of forcing constituency workers to perform unpaid political work on behalf of the MPPs in their off-hours. This practice is expressly forbidden in the collective agreement that covers the workers have with the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union. The workers allege that the harassment and bullying they experienced stemmed from their reluctance or in some cases unavailability to perform the extra work.
In addition to the human rights complaints the workers have filed multiple grievances with the union. In total there are at least five employees, including one in Andrea Horwath’s own constituency office who are or have been on long-term stress leave or paid administrative leave. Miller, White and Horwath have not responded to any of the specific allegations, instead issuing general statements about being willing to co-operate with any official process to arbitrate or investigate the charges.