Housekeepers Sue Algerian Consulate in Canada

The ladies had worked for the consulate since 2008 and 2014, respectively.


Humiliation, insults, shouting, sexism; two housekeeping employees, who allege that they were exploited by the Algerian consul, are seeking more than $450,000 in compensation. (Le Journal de Montréal)

“Our clients, in addition to being literally exploited, were not entitled to any break and their sick leaves were more or less rejected”, wrote lawyer Yasmina Boukossa, in 2021, in a letter addressed to the Consulate General from Algeria to Montreal and consulted by Le Journal.

According to two civil lawsuits, Marisa Amaya, 65, and Elida Rivera Lopez, 69, two self-employed housekeeping workers, were victims of psychological harassment, abuse of power, insults, shouting and humiliation by the Algerian Consul General, Mr. Nourredine Meriem, and his wife.

They are suing the Algerian government and the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a total of $452,452 in unpaid wages, lost wages, damages and interest. Mr. Meriem is not personally targeted by the appeal.

The ladies had worked for the consulate since 2008 and 2014, respectively.

Deteriorated atmosphere
However, according to the documents, it was only after the diplomat took office in 2019 that the atmosphere and working conditions deteriorated, becoming “intolerable”, “toxic”.

They would then have seen their workload increase considerably in addition to being assigned to maintain the residence of the consul and his family, allege the lawsuits.

There, the complainants say they suffered “vexatious” behavior and “hostile” conditions.

Objects were allegedly thrown on the floor in front of them, along with orders to pick them up. And in addition to having to tolerate hate speech, Ms. Amaya and Lopez would also have had to work injured, according to the introductory motions.

“It was a nightmare. We don’t know how we managed to stay”, says Ms. Amaya, wiping away her tears. She believes that she and her co-worker have been perceived as “servants”.

“Self-esteem has fallen to the ground. We felt a knot in the throat of being treated like dogs”, added Ms. Lopez.

In addition, the two women also allege that they were hidden dismissed. Since then, they say they suffer from depressive symptoms, not feeling able to return to work.

It was not possible to reach Mr. Meriem or the Algerian government yesterday (February 27th, 2023).

In a document filed in the Montreal courthouse a few days ago, the state of Algeria hinted that it had immunity.

“Under the State Immunity Act, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a foreign state for the purposes of the law”, it is indicated, by the voice of Global Affairs Canada. With the collaboration of Michael Nguyen

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