Former boss accused of discrimination disappointed agency settled rights case.
The human rights case launched by a federal scientist who claimed his former boss hired Chinese researchers because of their willingness to tolerate abuse has been dropped quietly. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal had been scheduled to hear this month the case of Ming Zhou, 46, a Chinese-born scientist who alleged Chander Grover and the National Research Council of Canada had discriminated against him.
The case promised to spotlight the deeply dysfunctional relationship between the NRC and Grover, an Indian-born research physicist who became a senior manager after winning a landmark discrimination case against the federal research agency in 1992.
Zhou, 46, reached a settlement with the NRC earlier this month to end his dispute with the agency. Terms of that settlement have not been made public.
Zhou subsequently withdrew his discrimination complaint against his former boss, Chander Grover. He told the Citizen he had no interest in pursuing a case against Grover alone.
"All I can say is that the case against NRC is settled to my satisfaction," Zhou said in an e-mail exchange.
Those events have outraged Grover, who believes the case against him had been "trumped up" by the NRC as part of its campaign to oust him.
"I am disappointed and upset, yes, because I have been deprived of the opportunity to tell my side of the story," said Grover, who has repeatedly battled the agency in human rights tribunals and courtrooms since 1987.
"The NRC does not want the evidence to come out and be discussed in the open before an independent body. They want everything to be done on an internal basis."
Natalie Hall, an NRC spokeswoman, said the agency "cannot disclose the terms of the settlement because they are confidential." She refused any further comment on the case.
Grover, 66, contends the NRC enlisted Zhou to complain about him in 2004 as part of a concerted effort to remove him from the agency.
Grover was fired from the NRC in July 2007 because of what the organization termed medical incapacity.
Grover contends those health problems were largely the product of a poisonous work environment that the NRC failed to correct. He has launched a human rights complaint that alleges his firing was the culmination of an unjust campaign to remove him. That complaint is still being investigated.
Grover said he had been looking forward to the public hearing on Zhou's complaint so he could vindicate himself and expose the NRC's role in the affair.
Zhou, in his statement to the tribunal, has admitted that the NRC encouraged him to launch harassment and human rights complaints against Grover in 2004.
At the time, Grover was locked in a heated dispute with NRC executives over his use of sick leave.
Grover contends that while he was on sick leave, in March 2004, the NRC canvassed people in the groups he supervised to find someone with a complaint about him. "Zhou was the only one who took the bait," he alleges.
In his statement to the tribunal, Zhou claimed that Grover isolated him from other NRC managers, humiliated him and unfairly criticized his work.
According to his statement, Zhou told NRC management that he was primarily concerned about the impact Grover's conduct had on his job status -- he wanted a full-time position -- but a human resources official told him the NRC could do nothing about his employment until he filed a harassment complaint.
Zhou filed that complaint in August 2004, then filed a human rights complaint against Grover one month later.
The NRC hired an investigator to probe Zhou's harassment allegations and, in September, a final report found most of his complaints were justified.
Grover said he was never interviewed by that investigator.
There was no substance to any of Zhou's allegations, insists Grover, who planned to present more than 1,200 pages of e-mail correspondence to demonstrate that his relationship with Zhou had been positive and constructive.
Grover also intended to file his annual performance reviews, which regularly praised Zhou's work.
He dismissed as "ridiculous" the allegation that he hired Chinese scientists because they could be more easily dominated.
Job competitions were organized by the NRC's human resources branch, Grover said, and the vast majority of people who applied for his photonics group happened to be Chinese. He took part in those job interviews, Grover said, and prepared hiring recommendations which went to human resources -- and at least one NRC executive -- for final approval.
Grover's lawyer, Paul Champ, said his client has suffered emotionally and financially during five years of defending himself against Zhou's allegations.
Although the terms of Zhou's deal with the NRC are secret, it is known that he will not be returning to the research agency. Champ said he believes the financial settlement may have been "substantial."
"How much money is the NRC willing to spend to discredit and fight with Grover, rather than simply resolve all the issues with him?" he demanded.
Educated in India and France, Grover came to Canada in 1978 as a specialist in optics. He was hired by the NRC in 1981.
He launched his first human rights complaint against the agency in 1987. After a long and expensive investigation -- the case cost an estimated $1 million -- the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a scathing judgment that condemned the NRC's discriminatory conduct.
The tribunal found that NRC managers had engaged in a strategy "contrived and calculated to further humiliate Grover and bring an end to his career at NRC."
That case did not end the conflict between the NRC and Grover, who returned to the human rights tribunal at least five times with more allegations of discrimination.