Former City of Nanaimo chief financial officer Victor Mema has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal against the city. (News Bulletin file)

Ex-CFO files racism complaint against B.C. city

Victor Mema alleges discrimination at City of Nanaimo, goes to B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Another former senior manager with the City of Nanaimo has launched a human rights complaint against the municipality that once employed him.

Victor Mema, who was the city’s chief financial officer until earlier this year, has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal arguing that the city discriminated against his “ancestry, race, place of origin and colour” according to tribunal documents obtained by the News Bulletin.

Mema, who replied to a number of questions via e-mail, confirmed that he has filed a complaint against the city with the tribunal. He said the filing was made last month and stems from “discriminatory acts” against him since he began working at the city in September 2015.

“The complaint is a result of discriminatory acts by the city, councillors and employees that stretch as early as late 2015 culminating on my suspension of March 1, 2018,” Mema said.

John Van Horne, the city’s director of human resources, confirmed that Mema has indeed filed a claim with the tribunal but could not comment on the claim specifically. He said the city has yet to respond to the claim, but is in discussion with Mema’s lawyers.

Mema was suspended in March following an announcement from the city that it was undertaking an independent investigation to deal with an “allegation of significant concern.” The city never explained what those concerns were, but to a city staffer later told the News Bulletin that Mema had made “personal charges” on a city-issued purchase card. It wasn’t disclosed how much money was spent. Documents obtained by the News Bulletin show that Mema repaid $11,418 to the city in 2017 and that his repayment included 21 recurring $500 deductions from his paycheques.

In his e-mail to the News Bulletin, Mema said the city’s reasons for his suspension, which he did not disclose, were not “sustained by any facts.”

“My suspension was part of a grand discrimination plot and ultimate act. Everything else was prejudicial,” Mema said.

In May, it was announced by the city that Mema was no longer with the municipality. The city has never publicly stated whether Mema was fired or quit. Mema did not answer the News Bulletin’s question on whether he was fired or quit.

When asked whether specific councillors or city staffers were racist toward him, Mema said he would rather not say for the time being.

“Unlike the city, I will respect people’s privacy until my submissions are made public. Racial discrimination is pervasive and ingrained across the city,” he said.

The human rights tribunal filing notes that the complaint is unproven. Van Horne said the city has corresponded with the tribunal.

RELATED: City fills staffing need in chief financial officer’s absence

RELATED: Nanaimo’s chief financial officer used city purchase card for 11 personal flights

RELATED: Nanaimo’s chief financial officer no longer with the city

Prior to working for the city, Mema worked in various high-level finance roles with the District of Sechelt, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, County of Lac La Biche and was a finance manager with the Town of Los Gatos in California. In 2016, Mema filed a human rights complaint against the District of Sechelt, claiming that the district discriminated against him because of his ethnicity and skin colour. Last August, the tribunal ruled against Mema and dismissed his case.

Mema is not the only former city employee to recently launch a human rights tribunal case against the city. Brad McRae, city’s former chief operations officer, filed a complaint earlier this year, claiming the city violated his human rights by firing him without cause following a termination hearing that he could not attend. A mediation date between the city and McRae has been set for Aug. 31 in Vancouver.




nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read