In 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) released its decision in Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General), reversing a trial court decision and definitively ruling there to be no independent tort of harassment. The plaintiff, an employee of a police force, had made a claim of harassment and bullying which he asserted negatively impacted his career and caused him emotional distress.
During orientation week at the outset of last fall’s semester, reports over social media alleged that up to 30 women may have been drugged and sexually assaulted at one of Western’s campus residences. In response to these allegations, students planned a walkout, police were called to investigate, and Western implemented mandatory sexual violence awareness…
As an investigator at Rubin Thomlinson LLP who specializes in sexual harassment investigations, I understand how challenging these can be. These investigations need to be approached with not only sensitivity and empathy, but with up-to-date knowledge of the law.
November 25, 2021, marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As workplace investigators, we know all too well that gender-based violence and harassment is a live issue, the impacts of which can be devastating on the survivor, their loved ones, and the workplace more broadly.
In a recent Provincial Court of Alberta decision, Dupont v. Ag Growth International Inc. (AGI-Westeel), 2021 ABPC 118, the trial judge ruled that just cause termination was a disproportionate measure following a workplace investigation where the dismissed employee was found to have sexually harassed a female colleague. The employer subsequently appealed this decision to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, who allowed the appeal.
You may have seen the news about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, following an investigation that concluded that he sexually harassed 11 women from 2013 to 2020. Investigators interviewed 179 people and ultimately found a pattern of unwanted touching and sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments towards staff, State employees and members of the public.
It is September and back to school time, including back to the physical campus after more than one year of virtual learning. I imagine that most students are looking forward to being back on campus, or attending campus for the first time. It is an exciting time, yet…
Recently the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in R. v. Sullivan, a case involving the automatism defence. For those who don’t know, this defence can potentially be raised when an individual enters a state of impaired consciousness in which they are capable of acting but have no voluntary control over those actions¹. Through amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada in the mid-90s, the defence of automatism cannot be used for violent offences when the automatism is brought on by self-induced intoxication.