I recently wrote a blog discussing a case adjudicated by the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission, which involved allegations of sexual harassment at a small local restaurant and the cost consequences of that employer failing to have a sexual harassment policy in place.
On September 29, 2023, the Human Rights Commission of Prince Edward Island (“PE HRC”) rendered its decision in the matter of Milligan v, Maczak Holdings Ltd. , a case involving sexual harassment of a restaurant worker at Smitty’s Family Restaurant (“Smitty’s”) in Charlottetown, PEI.
In recent weeks, allegations have been raised about actor/comedian Russell Brand regarding various instances of sexual assault, emotional abuse, and bullying from four anonymous women. As outlined below, this story provides several important takeaways for employers and investigators who deal with these issues.
Québec case law often goes unnoticed in the rest of Canada and remains inaccessible to most workplace investigators across the country, primarily due to linguistic reasons. This situation is quite unfortunate since Québec courts, tribunals, and adjudicators render interesting and innovative decisions every year in various areas of interest, including human rights and labour law.
La jurisprudence québécoise passe souvent inaperçue dans les autres provinces canadiennes et demeure inaccessible pour la grande majorité des enquêteurs et enquêteuses en milieu de travail du pays, et ce, pour des raisons principalement linguistiques. Cette situation est malheureuse, puisque chaque année, les tribunaux québécois rendent des décisions intéressantes et innovatrices dans plusieurs domaines d’intérêt, dont en droits de la personne et en droit du travail.
The assessment of credibility and reliability is always a central part of an investigator’s work. My colleague, Chantel Levy, wrote an excellent overview of the considerations a decision maker should bear in mind when making a finding of credibility, including consistency, corroborative evidence, plausibility, and motive.
We have had mandates to investigate allegations of sexual abuse that occurred many years ago. As we point out to clients who wish to retain us, beyond the complexities of every case of this kind, most notably that there is usually no direct evidence of the event having transpired, “historic” cases present unique challenges: Witnesses may no longer be available, documents may have been destroyed, and memories inevitably fade.
When organizations retain a workplace assessor to help reveal employee experiences of workplace harassment and sexual harassment, they usually ask the assessor to make recommendations as to what the organization should do next.