Woman files human rights complaint after student union layoff

Rally at Ryerson over workplace rights after layoff

A former executive director at Ryerson Students’ Union has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after she was laid off three months into her maternity leave.

Gilary Massa and her lawyer Saron Gebresellassi were the focus at a rally calling for fairness and equity for women at Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre yesterday.

The announcement and rally come just days before International Women’s Day.

“March 6 marks International Women’s Day, and as we get ready to celebrate the gains made for women’s rights in this country, the actions of the RSU leaves a lot to be desired and serves as a cautionary tale for employers across Ontario,” Gebresellassi said in an interview.

Massa was a full-time unionized member of staff at Ryerson’s Student Union for seven years. In December 2015, Massa’s position was eliminated while she was on maternity leave. The woman who was taking over her position was also laid off.

“The tribunal doesn’t look too kindly on this kind of conduct on the part of the employers,” Gebresellassi said.

Massa and her lawyer aim to go into mediation with the tribunal.