Jennifer Valentyne, a Canadian broadcast personality, has recently spoke out against her alleged experience of gender discrimination in the workplace, which ultimately led to her dismissal. In a 13-minute video posted on social media, Ms. Valentyne details the ongoing abuse she experienced while working with Q107 and Global News Morning. Ms. Valentyne discusses the impacts of treatment on her personally and professionally, and how that eventually led her to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission for gender discrimination.
In the video, Ms. Valentyne alleges she was yelled at, laughed at, and exposed to second-hand smoke despite her complaints and medical repercussions. She also discusses the alleged lost opportunities she experienced as a result of her gender, and even specific statements by a boss that a lesser position was more fitting for a “woman of her age”.
With the rise of the “Me Too” movement, we have seen increasing recognition of discriminatory experiences faced by women in the workplace. The Ontario Human Rights Commission offers an avenue for employees to make claims of gender discrimination in the workplace, and hopefully reduce this type of alleged differential treatment.
It is important for employees to understand that the Ontario Human Rights Code protects workers from more than the “typical” forms sexual harassment that may come to mind, such as lewd comments or unwanted touching. Actions like blocking a promotion, demoting an employee, or changing an employee’s compensation due to their gender may be considered discrimination.
Ms. Valentyne’s video also raises the issue often faced by employees who feel that they have been discriminated against: how do they prove it? While there is no simple answer to this question, we have seen that many of Ms. Valentyne’s coworkers have corralled around her and are now calling out alleged differential treatment and history of ignoring complaints.
Although Ms. Valentyne’s allegations of gender discrimination in the workplace have yet to be verified, it brings up an important discussion around ensuring that women are presented with the same opportunities as men as they advance through their careers. These types of discussions work toward ensuring that women are not passed over for promotions, or worse, demoted or fired for reasons relating to their gender or age.
If you or someone you know feels that they have been discriminated against, it is important to speak with an experienced employment lawyer to understand your workplace rights. Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667.
Author: Rachel Patten