Resolution reached in human rights complaint against Remai Modern gallery

A mediated settlement in a former employee’s human rights complaint against the Remai Modern art gallery has been approved by Saskatchewan’s human rights commissioner.

Under the terms of the agreement, Remai Modern admitted to no wrongdoing and agreed to a monetary settlement with the former worker.

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An employee had alleged she was discriminated against by the former head of the gallery between March 2013 and October 2014 on the basis of her sex.

A complaint was filed with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2015, leading to a lengthy and complex investigation.

“Approximately 80 per cent of complaints that come to the commission are resolved within one year of the complaint being made, with nearly 90 per cent of complaints being resolved within 24 months,” commissioner David Arnot said Monday in a statement.

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“The remaining cases, such as this one, take extra time.”

Once his investigation was complete, Arnot said he determined there was enough merit for the case to proceed to a court hearing. He also directed the parties to attend mediation before then.

“Where a full investigation has taken place, and where the body of evidence suggests that a complaint should proceed to hearing at the Queen’s Bench, the Commission’s process provides an opportunity for resolution through directed mediation,” Arnot said.

Read more: Remai Modern outgoing chair describes ‘difficult’ relationship with city

The case landed in court before mediation took place, after the gallery’s former CEO, Gregory Burke, applied in October 2019 for the complaint against him to be stayed.

He’d argued the investigation was taking too long and had damaged his reputation.

Burke announced his resignation from Remai Modern in December 2018 to take a similar position with an art gallery in New Zealand. He then stepped down from that role in March 2019 after the allegations came to light.

The court granted Burke a stay on Dec. 31, 2019, saying the delays were unreasonable and that he had suffered significant prejudice.

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Read more: Former Remai Modern CEO granted stay in human rights complaint

The parties agreed to a resolution during mediation.

As part of the settlement, Remai Modern also will implement anti-harassment training.

“Mediation is an effective tool in resolving human rights complaints and achieving reasonable, fair, and restorative resolutions that meet the needs of all parties,” Arnot said.

“Pursing education and training is a fundamental, and often necessary, part of the commission’s appropriate case resolution process.”

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