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Sexually assaulted nanny awarded $50,000 by BC Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In PN v. FR and another (No. 2), 2015 BCHRT 60, a nanny who was sexually assaulted and otherwise exploited by her employer, was awarded $50,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect. In awarding these damages the Tribunal stated as follows:

[132]      In this case, the impact of the discriminatory conduct can be seen to be severe. Although it took place over six weeks, the impact was long-lasting and impacts the complainant until now.

[133]      While working for the respondents, PN was exploited. She had to perform sexual acts at the whim and insistence of her employer, she was humiliated and degraded by her other employer, and she was even made fun of by the children who were in her care. She was isolated, underfed and treated like she was sub-human; all because she was a young Filipino mother who needed the job to take care of her own children. I would like to think that this behaviour does not occur in BC. However, where it comes to the attention of the Tribunal, damages will be awarded to attempt to put the complainant in a position that she would have been in without the discrimination.

[134]      PN's counsellor testified that she suffered symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder. She has nightmares and flashbacks still. She had to flee with nothing; not clothes, not money, not friends. She had to fend for herself and was lucky enough to find refuge in an institution for victims of human trafficking. It is hard to imagine the bravery and determination that she required to overcome her treatment at the hands of the respondents.

[135]      PN had to rely on the generosity of strangers to feed and clothe herself. She cannot work in Canada, she cannot get benefits from the government, and she was threatened with a lawsuit. Her untenable situation was longstanding (from August 2013 to today) and is still fraught with uncertainty. All because she, understandably, couldn't take, any longer, the discrimination by the respondents.

[136]      There are many other actions by FR that served as a constant reminder of FR's effort to assert control over PN. This served to make her time after she left their residence even more difficult. These actions by FR impacted PN and were:

-seeking to have others notify PN that she should not cause trouble,

-having others tell PN that she should take money from him and return to Asia, and

-lobbying to have her deported from Canada.

[137]      This case presents the factors that should result in an award at a high level. I am satisfied that the award in this case should be higher because, like in Ratzlaff, there was significant physical harassment and the fact that it occurred when she was isolated and intimidated. The damages must also be increased because of the severe stress and the acutely vulnerable situation PN was in due to, and following, the discrimination. I am satisfied that, in all the circumstances of this case, an award for both of her complaints of $50,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect is appropriate.