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Spy service analyst loses appeal in discrimination case

OTTAWA — A Canadian Security Intelligence Service employee has lost another round in his discrimination lawsuit against the spy agency. 

In a 2-1 decision, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that found Sameer Ebadi should have followed the internal grievance procedures available to him.

Federal Court Justice Henry Brown had said the court lacked jurisdiction to address Ebadi’s statement of claim filed in January 2020.

Ebadi, who uses a pseudonym due to the sensitive nature of his intelligence work, is on long-term disability leave.

Ebadi is a practising Muslim who fled to Canada from a repressive Middle Eastern country and began working as a CSIS analyst in the Prairie region over two decades ago. 

His claim says he was passed over for promotion despite an excellent work record, and that he suffered bullying, emotional and physical abuse, discrimination and religious persecution from fellow employees. 

Among other things, the claim alleges colleagues would quickly open his office door when he was at prayer, smashing it into his body or head. “They would then feign surprise that Sameer was at prayer, but would laugh outside the door afterwards.” 

Ebadi argued that CSIS had a history of protecting harassers from responsibility for their racially or religiously motivated behaviour. 

Internal CSIS processes could not be trusted to provide him with a fair hearing and to protect him against reprisals for bringing forward concerns, he said.

Lawyers for the government filed a motion to have the case struck out, arguing the terms of Ebadi’s employment are subject to intelligence service procedures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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