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Serious insight for serious situations.

Serious insight for serious situations.

“Locker Room Talk”: Defining sexual harassment in the Alberta case of Watkins v. Willow Park Golf Course

To say sexual harassment is a hot topic at the moment is an understatement. From Donald Trump’s now infamous Access Hollywood tape to multiple reports at Fox News to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there is heightened awareness of the seriousness of sexual harassment and its impacts, particularly in the workplace. Despite the high profile nature

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What employers can learn from #MeToo

I started seeing the #metoo hashtag being posted by friends and acquaintances on Twitter and Facebook one Sunday evening, and by the next morning it seemed that every woman I knew had chimed in. For those who don’t know, a picture started circulating on social media that read: If all the women who have been

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Rehiring the man who had sexually harassed her over a decade before, triggers employee’s constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal cases are tricky. The onus is on the employee to prove her case, often in the face of strong opposition from the employer. Moreover, the test is an objective one.  It is not the employee’s subjective assessment of the workplace conditions that rules the day.  Rather, it is the legal decision maker’s assessment

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Fire at the roots: Tackling sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces

It has been less than two years since Madame Justice Marie Deschamps released her report in which she described an “underlying sexualized culture in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that is hostile to women and LGBTQ members […],” and called for “broad-scale cultural reform,” among other things. In response, the CAF established “Operation Honour” and

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Addressing sexual violence in Ontario’s colleges and universities

On October 27, 2015, the Ontario government tabled its Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment) 2015 (the “Act”).  Last week my colleague Janice Rubin wrote about the implications for employers of the amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This week, I am considering the implications for Ontario’s colleges

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Human Rights Tribunal awards record general damages for sexual harassment of migrant workers

In his Report on the Ontario Human Rights Review 2012, Andrew Pinto commented on the general damages awards being awarded by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”). Noting that general damages awards of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 seemed to correspond to low, medium and high damage awards, he commented that “there appears to be

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“It’s never okay”

I set aside some time this weekend to review the Ontario Government’s action plan to stop sexual violence and harassment, released on Friday, March 6, 2015, and it occurred to me that this seemed a particularly significant thing to be doing on International Women’s Day yesterday. According to the Government, 28% of Canadians say that

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Courier’s questionable workplace investigation may nullify release

A recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice, O’Reilly v Purolator Courier Ltd, 2014 ONSC 3266 (CanLII), suggests that questions regarding how a workplace investigation was conducted may mean that a release signed in favour of the employer may not be enforceable. The facts of the case are straightforward. In 2007, two female Purolator

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