I saw the devil in you A woman complains that

“I saw the devil in you”: A woman complains that she was the victim of discriminatory dismissal

A woman with epilepsy complains that she was the victim of discriminatory dismissal because of her disability. After a crisis in the office, her manager is said to have told her that she had “seen the devil”. However, Mélissa Nadeau was knowingly hired.

Mélissa Nadeau has been unemployed for 2 years since her employer, the Ministry of Labor and Employment and Social Solidarity, fired her. Dismissal, among other things, after epileptic seizures at work.

As can be seen from the documents submitted to TVA Nouvelles, she was hired with this disability. But a new manager didn’t seem to believe her.

On several occasions he asked her to produce additional medical certificates to justify her absence from work.

He blamed her for her lack of attendance and productivity while her epileptologist adjusted her medication. He was also denied a mat to reduce his falls. When she finally had a crisis in the office in front of her colleagues in 2020.

“The whole office saw them, I was at dinner. When I woke up and looked back, I had a paramedic behind me and my handler doing the 4 steps and he said, ‘I saw the devil in you.'”

The woman says that her team leader then said it loud and clear to the others to finally have proof that the woman really was an epileptic. Despite her repeated efforts to explain her condition, her manager subsequently tells her that her position is out of budget.

However, Ms. Nadeau explains that several younger employees stayed on at work. She is convinced that she was a victim of discrimination: “I have the impression that it was the continuity to finally get rid of me.”

After filing a complaint with the employer, she explained, with supporting documents, that the latter had offered her an amicable settlement to have her productivity assessment file deleted if she no longer applied to the Department of Labour. She refused and is now preparing a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Nadeau, social worker, was an integration agent, helping vulnerable clients enter the labor market. She is also pursuing a master’s degree, specializing in the field.

The Association Québécoise de l’Épilepsy supports his approach. Brigitte Lambert is shocked to hear her story.

“When we talk about a man and tell him that we saw the devil in him! I found that unacceptable in 2022. We have to stop playing with words and respect people.”

She says there are several prejudices among the population regarding this disability, which requires complicated and lengthy medical adjustments.

When asked by TVA Nouvelles about this amicable settlement and the manager’s comments, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity replied as follows:

“The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity (MTESS) does not comment on specific cases. If an employee feels disadvantaged by a decision made by his employer, he can exercise his right under the working conditions to lodge a complaint to challenge this decision. In the context of dispute resolution, the conversation about an amicable settlement between the parties concerned remains confidential.