Skip to Content

Sexual Harassment

Top 10 most significant employment law cases in Canada for women

In light of International Women's Day back on March 8, 2015, Legal Feeds, the Blog for Canadian Lawyer & Law Times published a list of the most significant court decisions for women in the workplace over the last 25 year, as compiled by the lawyers at Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Ontario. Here is the firm's top 10 list:  read more »

Temporary foreign workers win sexual harassment case; one awarded $150,000 for "injury to dignity" damages

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Fishing

In O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., 2015 HRTO 675 - a decision issued on May 25, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") awarded one of the complainants $150,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the sexual solicitations and harassment that she experienced in the workplace. The other complainant was awarded $50,000 for this head of damage.

The $150,000 award is, according to the union that represented the complainants, the new high-watermark for this type of damages in Ontario and, according to some commentators, three times higher than the previous high-water mark.  read more »

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.  read more »

NDP's "Intern Protection Act" debated for first time in Parliament

The federal New Democrat Party (NDP) issued the following press release on February 17, 2015 concerning the Intern Protection Act, which is a private member's bill tabled by NDP MP, Laurin Liu:

NDP will protect interns
 read more »

Alberta Court of Appeal agrees that Syncrude had just cause to dismiss senior employee for sexual harassment

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - Oil & Gas

In Clarke v Syncrude Canada Ltd, 2014 ABCA 362, the Alberta Court of Appeal agreed that Syncrude Canada Inc. had just cause to dismiss a 55 year old assistant comptroller who engaged in sexual harassment.

The appeal court summarized the former employee's misconduct and the company's response as follows:

[3]                  The facts are fully set out in the trial reasons, so only a brief summary of the facts is necessary here. Clarke began employment with Syncrude in 1983. When terminated in 2005, he was 55 years old, an assistant comptroller and Syncrude's key contact with its pension fund administrator.  read more »

Study on sexual harassment in the federal workplace released

Topics: - Sexual Harassment
Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women has released its study on sexual harassment in the federal workplace: A Study on Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace".

The summary of the study is as follows:  read more »

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 »