This is the second of a series of three posts in which I summarize what independent workplace assessments have revealed about the Canadian Armed Forces’ struggle to address sexual misconduct in the profession of arms.
Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand recently advised Parliament that she has ordered the Canadian Armed Forces to plan significant operational changes, meant to ground the cultural transformation required to reduce the CAF’s high rate of sexual misconduct amongst service members.
Holiday season is almost here, and as workplace investigators, we know that during office holiday parties, some employees, managers, or directors who may have had one or two too many drinks sometimes engage in different types of misconduct – including vexatious comments or jokes, and unwelcome sexual advances or physical contact – that negatively impact individuals and that can even poison the work environment. This is borne out by the case law.
As external investigators, our investigation ends with the delivery of a written report to our client. These reports always include findings of fact, and an analysis of those findings to determine whether there has been a breach of a policy and/or legislation. Sometimes, our clients will also ask that a report include recommendations for next steps.
In the summer of 2020, there was an incident involving a City of Toronto Municipal Standards Officer, Michael Rushton, and two Black women, Eva Amo-Mensah and Deborah Ampong (the “complainants”).
Sometimes, allegations of workplace misconduct will be clearly articulated and will be backed up by first-hand evidence of inappropriate behaviour or harassment, and employers will take the appropriate steps to conduct a fair and impartial investigation to determine whether such allegations are well founded.
There’s a crispness in the air that reminds me that winter is just around the corner. At the risk of being “that person,” I love this season; sitting by a crackling fire with my family and a cup of tea is what I consider perfection. Like me, some human resources departments are also gearing up for their end-of-year gatherings – apparently, office holiday parties are back in style.
A few weeks ago, I was part of a panel on TVO. The discussion centred on what had changed in the two years since the #Me Too Movement had begun. Much to my surprise, I seemed to be the sole voice on the panel who thought that the needle on the sexual harassment dial had moved at all.
At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, let me explain why I believe things have changed. I do so from the vantage point of someone who leads a large team of lawyers, lawyers who investigate complaints of sexual harassment across the country, in English and in French, and in every conceivable type of workplace.