It all started in the fall of 2019, when Khalid Sbai landed a managerial position at Panthera Dental. The family business in Quebec, then in full expansion, designs and manufactures dental prostheses. Khalid Sbai got the job after being recommended by a recruiting firm. Born in France, he notably worked for ten years in Dubai and specializes in international trade.
A few weeks after taking office, Khalid Sbai left Montreal to settle in the Quebec region with his wife and three children.
It’s a family sacrifice, and this is really the case to saysays the man, sitting in his sunny courtyard in Boischatel.
This move was one of the conditions for obtaining the position, he says, stressing that his wife had to find a new job and that his children had to go to a new school.
His experience in Quebec, however, took an unexpected turn. A little over two months after taking office, and less than two weeks after moving, he was fired.
” It was a shock, there is no other term. There was no signal that came to warn me of such an abrupt decision. »
In January 2020, Khalid Sbai took legal action against his ex-employer for wrongful dismissal.
It doesn’t fit not
During the hearings, Panthera Dental failed to convince Judge Johanne April that Khalid Sbai was fired for just cause. The human resources director, Nathalie Planche, testified that the company’s president, Gabriel Robichaud, informed her that she had to fire Sbai on the grounds that “it doesn’t fit not “.
However, in the days preceding his dismissal, Khalid Sbai assures us that his boss expressed to him that he was satisfied with his work.
It is Diane Robichaud, the director of the laboratory and aunt of Gabriel, who would have alerted Gabriel Robichaud concerning the ex-employee after having rubbed shoulders with him for a few days. She emphasizes her
short attention spanhis
lack of interest and its irrelevant questions.
Impossible for me to work or collaborate with Mr. Sbaishe summarized in court.
However, the judge considers that the company did not follow the necessary steps before dismissing him, since his shortcomings were not communicated to him and he was not entitled to a period of time to adjust. management’s expectations.
On this subject, the lawyer specializing in labor law Me François Leduc believes that companies must take note of this aspect of the judgment.
For employers, it is not to believe that because an employee is on probation that the employer has full latitude to dismiss him without thinking that there are recourses for employees.
He also believes that the move of Mr. Sbai and his family as part of his hiring is part of the aggravating circumstances for the employer and which justify the compensation prescribed by the court.
Mr. Sbai is convinced that his dismissal has more to do with his Moroccan origins.
From the first day, I was told: “Khalid, welcome to Quebec, but know that here, people are extremely racist!” To which I replied: “these are not extremely reassuring words!”
He claims that his Moroccan cultural origins were
poorly perceived, even totally accepted by some members of management. The manager also claims to have also been the victim of discrimination within his former employer, Pratt & Whitney Canada.
He particularly targets Béatrice Robichaud, the vice-president of Panthera Dental. The trans businesswoman is known for her involvement in advocacy for sexual and gender diversity communities. According to Khalid Sbai, she would have made discriminatory and intolerant remarks against the Muslim religion, referring to her
countries in the middle east when he was born in France.
Before the Tribunal, Béatrice Robichaud denied having made such comments.
The judge did not believe her and determined that this behavior is
unacceptable. She awarded the ex-employee $10,000 in exemplary damages.
” Panthera, through the voice of Beatrice, has disrespectfully reached Sbai in his deepest values. »
As part of a company that prides itself on being open-minded, which prides itself on having half of its employees who are of different backgrounds, but which goes against what it boasts to do, it is something that particularly disturbed me and that it is absolutely necessary to denouncesays Khalid Sbai.
Panthera Dental is currently considering the possibility of appealing the case. Therefore, since the case is still before the courts and out of respect for the legal process, Panthera Dental will not comment further.responded the company in an email to Radio-Canada.
Another testimony corroborates Khalid Sbai’s allegations. In a letter submitted to the court, Marie-Pier Blouin, a former director of human resources who hired Mr. Sbai, reports a
toxic work environment.
” Disrespect was practically advocated by management. »
According to her, family members would often hold heated get-togethers where shouting was common. The ex-employee says she bitterly regrets her time at Panthera, where she worked for less than a year. During this period, it claims to have dismissed a dozen workers,
which is huge for a company of 100 peopleshe says.
As for Khalid Sbai, he still has not found a new job. Although they love the Quebec region, he and his wife are thinking of moving again.
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