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Sexual Harassment

Female employee was participant / instigator of crude, ongoing sexual banter; harassment complaint dismissed

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2), 2013 BCHRT 289, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that a female employee was participant in, and instigator of, crude and ongoing sexual banter and therefore dismissed her sexual harassment complaint against her employer, Sleep Country Canada.

In reaching this conclusion, the Tribunal Member stated the following:

[32] The Supreme Court of Canada has defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of the harassment": Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. (1989), 10 C.H.R.R. D/6205 at D/6227.

[33] In Mahmoodi v. University of British Columbia, [1000] B.C.R.T.D. No. 52 (Q.L.) the Tribunal set out the test for whether conduct is unwelcome. It stated:  read more »

Class action filed against RCMP: Lawsuit alleges widespread sexual discrimination and harassment

Jurisdiction: - All
Sector: - Public Safety

The following news release was issued on March 27, 2012 by law firms Klein Lyons, a law firm with offices in Vancouver and Toronto, and / or Watkins Law, a law firm in Thunder Bay, Ontario:

CLASS ACTION FILED AGAINST RCMP
Lawsuit Alleges Widespread Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

VANCOUVER, March 27, 2012-A class action lawsuit was filed today in the B.C. Supreme Court against the R.C.M.P. on behalf of female employees of the RCMP. The suit, filed by former RCMP constable Janet Merlo, alleges widespread systemic discrimination by the RCMP against female members, civilian members and civil service employees.  read more »

Complaint into RCMP workplace harassment initiated by Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Public Safety

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, a federal body housed in Public Safety Canada department, has initiated a complaint and investigation into RCMP workplace harassment.

The November 16, 2011 news release announcing the complaint states:

Ian McPhail, the Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission) has initiated a complaint and a public interest investigation into the conduct of RCMP members regarding the handling of allegations of harassment within the workplace.

"I am satisfied that, given recent events, there are reasonable grounds for me to conduct a review of RCMP procedures pertaining to workplace harassment," said Mr. McPhail.  read more »

BC's WCB Act to be amended to broaden coverage for mental stress conditions arising in workplace

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The British Columbia Government has introduced amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that, among other features, broaden compensation coverage for mental stress conditions arising in the workplace.

The amendments were introduced in the legislature on November 3, 2011. In the government's news release, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid states:

Our government recognizes that we need to treat job-related mental stress the same way we treat physical illness and injuries. We know mental stress has a significant impact on workers, their families and their workplace.

The Ministry's Backgrounder that accompanied the news release states:

What are the effects of mental stress?

Since mental stress most often results in physical and psychological symptoms, it has a significant effect on workers and their families.  read more »

"10 Best Practices in Employment Law"

Lauren M. Bernardi, a lawyer and human resource advisor with the Mississauga firm of Bernardi Human Resource Law, has prepared a list of the "10 Best Practices in Employment Law" (undated).

As further explained in the publication, her 10 best practices are:

  1. Use a complete hiring strategy.
  2. Use employment agreements. 
  3. Use job descriptions. 
  4. Use independent contractors only where appropriate.
  5. Implement employee policies. 
  6. Use progressive discipline. 
  7. Implement a harassment policy. 
  8. Conduct performance evaluations. 
  9. Document, document, document. 
  10. Be fair.

Owner of work camp in oil patch found not to be "employer" for purposes of sexual harassment complaint

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - Oil & Gas

The court's decision is here: 375850 Alberta Ltd. v. Noel, 2011 ABQB 218.

The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal's decision is here: Beverly Noel and 375850 Alberta Ltd. (N2006/08/0134) (September 16, 2010).

A summary of the decision by LindaMcKay-Panos has been posted to ABlawg.ca. You can read it here: "Issue of 'Employment' in Human Rights Cases Arises Yet Again" (May 17, 2011).