Employers must ensure a harassment-free workplace

After her first few shifts as a customer service representative with Money Mart in Toronto, Marjorie Harriott noticed that her boss, Desmond Wade, liked women a bit too much. Wade would often ogle at female customers and employees, staring at their breasts and rear ends, making comments that they found offensive. Wade would also come too close to the female staff, sometimes touching them, and making them feel uncomfortable to be around him.
Matters came to a head for Harriott when Wade approached her at work and started to massage her neck. Harriott reported the incidents to a manager, who indicated that the company’s human resources representative would look into it. When she never heard back, Harriott telephoned another manager in human resources and complained that she had been harassed. A few weeks later, she was called to a meeting and told that the matter had been investigated and was closed. According to Money Mart, Harriott had to “work it out” with Wade.
Upset about the company’s failure to adequately investigate what she felt was sexual harassment, Harriott recently took Money Mart to a human rights tribunal, which is equal to a court for discrimination-based matters.
In my Workplace Law column in this week’s Metro News, I discuss the case in further detail.
Daniel A. Lublin is an employment lawyer with Whitten & Lublin LLP, which provides practical legal advice and advocacy for workplace issues.