A cultural shift is on the horizon
It’s been several months since The Daily Scrum News ran the story on racism within Manitoba Hydro and throughout the various power stations within the province.
Since that story broke, several employees have come forward to also share their experience with racism, homophobia, and sexism within the Hydro environment. They indicated the environment has been toxic for many years to the point it was openly accepted.
In the first week of July, The Daily Scrum News received an archive filled with content that is highly offensive to women, various religious groups, and ethnic communities. The information was taken from the Twitter and Facebook page of a person that identifies as being a Manitoba Hydro employee working in the engineering department named Amrish Patel. Mr Patel’s identity on both social networks matches his identity found on Linked In that also stated he is an employee of the Crown Services.
Some of Mr Patel’s posts date as far back as 2014 and as recent as May 31, 2020, where he made racial slurs towards the Black community referencing the George Floyd murder in Minnesota.
We reached out to Mr. Patel by email but did not receive a response. His Twitter page has also been deleted along with its content from the popular social network.
We find it quite puzzling that a person employed by a Crown Corporation can have such discontent for other races and culture for so long and not understand the seriousness of his actions.
The Daily Scrum News reached out to Manitoba Hydro CEO Jay Grewal to get her thoughts on the matter and culture at Hydro.
The response from Grewal was not your typical pre-written copy and paste statement that’s in the queue at a time of a crisis. This was different. It was a well thought out response that offered specifics with regards to employee expectations, a safe and inclusive work environment, and social media policy.
“The alleged posts by one of our employees are very upsetting. Once
they were brought to our attention, we immediately engaged the
appropriate staff to investigate.” said Grewal
The fact Grewal took the time to respond and address the serious allegations personally and not delegate to a staffer is a clear indication she understands the magnitude of the environment she inherited.
“I can say we have a clear Discrimination and Harassment-free Workplace Policy and inform all employees of their rights and responsibilities under that policy. We also have a social media policy that holds employees personally responsible for any content they publish online.
We do not tolerate harassment, sexual harassment, or discrimination of any kinds.” Said Grewal
Grewal also talks about inclusion, dignity, and respect words often thrown out at seminars and staff meeting by HR and senior management, but in this case, we get a feeling there is genuine sincerity and truth of what she speaks.
To be fair, for all the negative things we’ve heard about the culture at Hydro, we will not paint everyone with the same brush. It’s unfortunate that over time small groups and behaviours overshadow the work and commitment of thousands of great employees within the corporation. A corporation that remains dedicated to the people of Manitoba and embraces its diversity and multiculturalism.
Employees of the Crown Corporation have overwhelmingly expressed their enthusiasm and support for Grewal because they can see the positive changes happening. Changes that will likely hold more meaning and more impact as the sentiment and change in culture is coming right from the top.