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Sexual Harassment

Alberta jury awards almost $1 million in damages to employee dismissed for sexual harassment

The case of Elgert v. Home Hardware Stores Limited, 2010 ABQB 73 (CanLII), concerned a senior employee in a management position was dismissed for just cause based on alleged sexually harassment and insubordination. At the time, he had worked for Home Hardware for almost 17 years and was over the age of 50.

The alleged incidents occurred in late 2001/early2002 at the Home Hardware distribution centre in Wetaskiwin, an hour's drive from Edmonton.

The first complainant alleged that the Plaintiff, Mr. Elgert, pushed her into a dark storage room, pushed her up against a table, held her hands down and wiggled his body between her legs.

The second compliant alleged that a few months later while she was cleaning a first aid room in the warehouse, the Plaintiff entered the room, turned off the light and shut the door. He then bumped her backwards until she fell onto a cot. He laid on top of her, and lingered there.

One of the complainants was the daughter of the head of the distribution centre.  read more »

"Conducting A Harassment Investigation, The Do's and Don'ts"

Alberta lawyer Carolyn Hutniak has prepared some useful guidelines for employers on "Conducting A Harassment Investigation, The Do's and Don'ts" (undated).

BC Maritime Employers Association files systemic sex discrimination complaint against its union

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

The BC Maritime Employers Association ("BCMEA") submitted a complaint yesterday to the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ("ILWU").

The BCMEA is calling it an "unprecedented step" taken because of "the urgent need to provide an inclusive workplace at the waterfront in British Columbia".

The BCMEA further states that it had "no other choice" but to file the complaint due to "the refusal of the ILWU to participate in timely and meaningful action to move toward equality in the workplace."

The complaint  - a summary of which can be found here - alleges that the ILWU Canada and its various local Unions are engaging in various discriminatory practices contrary to section 10 of the Canadian Human Rights Act ("CHRA").  read more »

The Top 10 Canadian court cases on wrongful dismissal and employment law

For an upcoming audio conference, Lancaster House has listed what it believes are the Top 10 Canadian cases (actually 13) on wrongful dismissal and employment law. In no particular order, it appears, the cases and the issues they address are:  read more »

Sexual harassment allegations not supported but abusive behaviour by manager led to constructive dismissal

In Cooke v. HTS Engineering Ltd., 2009 CanLII 73907 (O.N.S.C.), the court found that the former employee's allegations of sexual harassment were not supported, but that the manager's abusive behaviour supported a finding of constructive dismissal.

By way of contrast, in a recent decision out of Alberta - Pawlett v. Dominion Protection Services Ltd., 2008 ABCA 369 - the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge's decision that sexual harassment by the boss led to a constructive dismissal. 

Sexual harassment at Christmas party and dishonesty during investigation lead to senior employee's dismissal

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The plaintiff's employment with Marriot Hotels of Canada Ltd. was terminated for cause on February 1, 2007. He was 46 years old, had been employed by the hotel for 22 years and held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing.

Prior to the incidents in question, the plaintiff's employment record was free of any discipline.

The defendant hotel alleged cause for dismissal based on the fact that the plaintiff:

  • Was a senior manager with responsibilities for supervising the company holiday party, permitted the excessive consumption of alcohol, engaged in sexually suggestive dancing, and condoned an "after-party" where Marriott employees drank heavily;
  • Engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with a female subordinate in the bathroom at the after-party; and
  • Was dishonest when he denied the sexual touching allegation during the defendant's investigation of his misconduct.

Distribution of drink tickets, alcohol consumption and suggestive dancing

In relation to these allegations, the court found that:  read more »