Staff at Leon’s Furniture outlet fired for hanging black statue

Metro Halifax and The Canadian Press

Published on September 5, 2013

DARTMOUTH - A Leon’s Furniture outlet here is apologizing and has provided its staff with sensitivity and diversity training after firing two employees over the hanging of a black statue.

The furniture store says it fired the two workers after it conducted an investigation into the incident last month.

The company says an investigation was launched after senior management became aware of the incident on Aug. 16.

Leon’s says the bronze statute with black patina was taped and hung to an office window and the statue was altered so that its eyes and mouth were whitened.

The company did not return messages seeking comment.

The incident was revealed by a former Leon’s employee, who has lodged a complaint of racial discrimination with the provincial Human Rights Commission.

According to the CBC, Elsworth Bottomsley told the commission he quit after the statue lynching, which followed several other racially motivated incidents over the previous two years.

Another Leon’s employee who is also alleging racial discrimination by the furniture store is seeking to introduce the statue lynching as evidence in her case.

Garnette Cromwell resigned after a manager referred to her employee evaluation as a “lynching.”

The CBC reports lawyers for Leon’s opposed the application Wednesday, saying the lynching incident happened well after Cromwell’s resignation in 2008, and isn’t relevant.

The board is considering the arguments.