Aalya's Human Rights Defence Fund
I am a mother of two, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression after enduring vicious bullying and harassment in my workplace. The harassment, which continued after I broke down and went on disability leave, got so bad that I became permanently harmed. To this day, I cannot even go near the building where I used to work without suffering a panic attack.
Last year, I filed a human rights complaint against my former employer because they refused to recognize my disability, choosing instead to humiliate and mistreat me to the point where I became suicidal. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario accepted my complaint and it is currently in process.
I am still battling symptoms of PTSD, which get worse every time I have to relive what happened, and this legal fight is very difficult for me to take on, emotionally, mentally and financially. But it is the right thing to do. I want to do my best to stand up for the rights and dignity of workers with disabilities, especially psychological disabilities such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. We deserve to be heard and respected, just like everybody else. Nobody deserves to be driven to the brink of suicide. We all know that some do not come back from that brink.
My former employer is fighting me every step of the way. I have very little in the way of resources to defend myself and seek the justice I deserve. That is why I am asking for your help with fundraising for my legal defence.
This money will help pay for a lawyer to assist me with the human rights complaint process as we advance to a hearing. I have done as much as I can on my own but right now I am overwhelmed and I need help.
Any funds not used for my legal defence will be donated to the DisAbled Women's Network of Canada (DAWN).
My family too has suffered and needs to find peace and move on at last. We thank you for your support!
Just to answer a couple of the questions from folks who are seeing my story and asking for updates ...
1) Yes, the situation is ongoing and will not be over for some time. My human rights complaint has not yet advanced to a public hearing and I am not sure when that hearing will be as there were several delays along the way.
2) Apart from the financial support I am getting via this fundraiser, I am completely on my own. I have no financial support from any union or other organization. At first, I was filing everything on my own and trying to do it without a lawyer but PTSD affects the ability to focus and concentrate; it affects your memory, and it creates a strong aversion to even revisit what happened because it meant completely breaking down. Therefore, due to my disability, I have been unable to advocate for myself effectively, which is why I eventually had to hire a lawyer to help me.
3) I am pleased to announce that I was able to reach a settlement with one party to my complaint, with whom I had no issue other than asking them to take some training on mental health issues such as PTSD and the duty to accommodate. That was all I wanted and I am so glad they agreed to do it. The complaint filed against the main respondent, my former employer, is still far from being resolved, and that is why I still need your support.
Thanks again to all of you. I am so grateful.
As part of this campaign, I want to post resources and information to help people and their loved ones who are going through similar struggles. We are thinking and talking a lot about mental illness and suicide because of the deaths of prominent celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain. A beautiful and thought-provoking piece here: