Monthly Archives: July, 2019

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in airline industry

July 22nd, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE:

660NEWS BY CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted Jul 19, 2019 5:00 am PDT

Mandalena Lewis was enjoying a layover in Hawaii with her WestJet co-workers the night she says a pilot pinned her down and tried to force her to have sex.

“I escaped being raped, but I was sexually assaulted,” the former flight attendant said.

A warm Sunday evening on the sands of Maui’s Makena Beach Resort in January 2010 had led to a group dinner and then an invitation from the pilot to have drinks on his balcony, which she accepted. Once in the room, he “dragged her onto the bed, kissing her and groping her” as she “physically resisted the assault and yelled for him to stop,” according to Lewis’s 2016 lawsuit against WestJet, filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

“It was a terrible situation. It was traumatizing,” Lewis, 33, told The Canadian Press.

Lewis later learned that WestJet had investigated a complaint from a flight attendant two years earlier alleging the same pilot had sexually assaulted her during a layover in Alberta, according to the lawsuit. It states the company did not discipline or fire him, nor take steps to warn or protect women scheduled to work with him.

WestJet has denied the allegations, which have not been proven in court.

Fired in 2016 after eight years with WestJet, Lewis has spoken out publicly about the “toxic” relations and “cowboy culture” at airlines and launched a proposed class action lawsuit against her former employer.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear WestJet’s arguments to quash the lawsuit, which accuses the airline of failing to provide a harassment-free workplace for women. WestJet previously failed to scuttle the action in the B.C. courts after arguing that the dispute belongs in the quasi-judicial realm.

Airline insiders say the alleged incident speaks to an industry plagued by sexual harassment and gender discrimination as it struggles to shed a “frat boy culture” among pilots that plays out in everything from lewd jokes in the cockpit to “midnight knockers” at the hotel door.

The Canadian Press spoke with seven current and former flight attendants and multiple experts who say aviation is struggling to rise above 20th-century attitudes and adapt to the #MeToo era.

Complaints citing sex in the flight industry have more than doubled over the past decade or so, totalling 118 in the period between 2014 and 2018, according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Harassment-specific complaints that cite sex rose 58 per cent between 2004 and 2018.

By comparison, other federally regulated industries such as banking, broadcasting and telecommunications saw fewer than 10 complaints collectively over the past 15 years, according to the commission, despite having much bigger workforces.

Airline employees highlighted a lopsided dynamic in which men occupy the vast majority of pilot jobs — 93 per cent at Air Canada and WestJet, slightly more balanced than the industry average of 95 per cent — and women comprise between 70 and 80 per cent of the country’s 15,000 flight attendants, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“When there’s a hierarchy like that, it creates a power dynamic, and some people will take advantage of it,” said flight attendant Florence LePage, citing sexist humour as one of the softer manifestations.

On a flight between Yellowknife and Whitehorse this year, a pilot phoned her from the cockpit to ask, “‘What is the difference between a chickpea and a lentil?’ Then he said, ‘The difference is that I would not pay to have a lentil pee on my face,’” recalled LePage, who is in her 20s and works at a major Canadian airline.

Other flight attendants pointed to incidents of pornography on the flight deck and unwanted advances after touchdown.

“I was warned constantly about midnight knockers,” said one flight attendant who has worked at WestJet for more than 15 years and wished to remain anonymous for fears about job security.

She alleges she was at a bar on a layover in Moncton soon after joining the company and the pilot, who had consumed several margaritas, started to stroke her.

“I just remember the feeling of the back of his hand on my upper arm…and of course it was unwelcome. So I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to go.’ And as I’m on my way out, the first officer does the same dang thing.”

The pilot insisted on walking her back to the hotel, which was across the street. In the elevator, she said he snapped the room key from her hand. She said she managed to retrieve it and waited for him to pass by before stepping into her room, which was adjacent to his. “I dead-bolted my door and I thought, ‘Thank God that’s over.’”

Then the phone rang. “He said, ‘Hi, it’s me.’ And I said, ‘What do you want?’ And he said, ‘I just wanted to make sure you made it to your room okay.’” She hung up.

“I was absolutely terrified.”

An undercurrent of in-flight flirtation can blend easily into romantic encounters during trips of up to four days spent with the same colleagues in far-flung climes. But the dynamic can also spill over into unsolicited, sexually aggressive behaviour from male colleagues and passengers, said Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress who focuses on women’s rights and economic security.

“They’re away from family, they don’t have those constraints, nobody’s around…they can do sort of crazy things and they think there’s no consequence,” Frye said.

“That can create more vulnerability and more potential for harm for people on the receiving end of those comments or that conduct.”

Expectations can also become internalized, with employees labelling less party-inclined colleagues as “slam-clickers.”

“It means that if you go to your hotel room and you slam your door and you click it locked, you don’t hang out and you’re antisocial,” said Mandalena Lewis. “I’ve been called a slam-clicker.”

WestJet said in an email it treats harassment seriously and is “committed to providing and ensuring a safe and harassment-free environment for WestJetters and guests.”

The company highlighted an anonymous whistleblower hotline and safety reporting system, and said its “respect-in-the-workplace policies” are clearly outlined, in addition to mandatory annual training.

Air Canada, meanwhile, said it has “zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination or violence in the workplace.”

“Employee safety and well-being is one of our cornerstone values which we will not compromise,” the company said in an email.

The stalwart statements come as cold comfort to Lewis.

“‘Be a dutiful daughter. Don’t be a problem employee,’” she said, mimicking their stance.

“It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors.”

Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA, TSX:AC)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

CBC ANNOUNCES COMPLETE LINEUP OF FIGURE SKATERS FOR BATTLE OF THE BLADES

July 19th, 2019 Press Releases

SOURCE: Tv, EH?

 

From a media release:

CBC today announced the complete lineup of figure skaters confirmed to compete live in the new season of hit returning series BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 5, 1×120, 6×60), with additional skaters rounding out the team who will be paired with hockey players to vie for the Season 5 championship. BATTLE OF THE BLADES, the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time* and produced by Insight Productions, launches with a special two-hour premiere on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service. The complete lineup of hockey players, as well as the pairings for the competition, will be announced in the coming weeks.

First-time competitors include three-time World Ice Dance medallists, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, and two-time World Pairs champion, and two-time Olympic Games medallist, Eric Radford. Season 2 winner and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist in pairs skating, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Season 4 winner and Olympian in pairs skating, Amanda Evora, will return to the ice. They join previously announced figure skaters Vanessa James and Violetta Afanasieva.

Ice dancers Weaver and Poje have represented Canada internationally for 13 years. These beloved fan-favourites have won three World Ice Dance medals, two gold medals at the Grand Prix Final Championships and three Canadian Ice Dance titles. They have represented Canada in ice dancing twice at the Olympic Games, placing seventh at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.

Radford is a two-time Olympic Games medallist with pairs partner Meagan Duhamel with whom he also won back-to-back World Championship titles in 2015 and 2016, including an undefeated season in 2015. The pair won their seventh consecutive Canadian pairs’ title in 2018, setting an all-time record. Radford and Duhamel were part of the Canadian figure skating team’s silver medal at Sochi 2014, and gold at PyeongChang 2018. Radford is the only openly gay male to have won an Olympic Games gold medal.

Gordeeva and late pairs partner and husband Sergei Grinkov are two-time Olympic Games gold medallists, four-time World champions, and two-time European champions. Icons of Russian pair skating, Gordeeva and Grinkov are still considered the greatest of all time. Since her tragic loss, Gordeeva has gone on as a soloist and continues to perform worldwide. Gordeeva and partner Valeri Bure won Season 2 of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, with $100,000 for both Cardiac Kids and Compassion Canada charities.

Evora is a five-time pairs medallist at the U.S. Championships with former partner Mark Ladwig, with whom she represented Team U.S.A. at multiple international competitions including two World Championships over the span of 10 years. Evora and Ladwig competed on the American figure skating team for the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010.  In 2013, Evora and partner Scott Thornton won the fourth season of BATTLE OF THE BLADES, winning $100,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Returning this fall, BATTLE OF THE BLADES combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports — figure skating and hockey — as they pair up in a live, high-stakes figure skating competition for the charity of their choice. Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean will reprise his role as host, with four-time Canadian and four-time World champion figure skater Kurt Browning returning as head judge. Beloved Canadian Olympic Games ice dance champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, will be rink-side with him as guest judges for select episodes. Previously announced hockey players for the new iteration of the hugely popular format include hockey players Sheldon Kennedy and Natalie Spooner. First launched in 2009, BATTLE OF THE BLADES was broadcast on CBC from 2009—2013 (4 seasons, 57 episodes) and remains the highest-rated original English-language Canadian format of all time.*

A CBC original series, BATTLE OF THE BLADES is produced by Insight Productions. The series is executive produced by Insight’s John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Erin Brock, and Mark Lysakowski and is co-created and executive produced by Olympian and World & Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sandra Bezic. 

Unacceptable workplace behaviors’ at UNICEF, leaked report summary says

July 8th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: Devex.com

 

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Children’s Fund’s workplace is not living up to the organization’s values of empowering children and families, according to UNICEF’s internal summary of a forthcoming independent task force report.

“While the draft ITF [independent task force] report found that there was a high level of pride among UNICEF staff in working for the organization, it also revealed that there is an environment of ‘results at all costs’ where staff feel that offenses go unpunished,” Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, deputy executive director of partnerships at UNICEF, wrote in a May 27 letter sent to staff along with the internal summary, both of which were obtained by Devex.

“The Task Force finds that there are groups of staff who still feel strongly that they are victims of an ‘us and them’ culture.”

— UNICEF internal summary of the draft report

“The draft report states that dysfunctional support from systems designed to provide checks and balances on the exercise of authority has led to increased stress, frustration among staff, resulting in worrying low-levels of trust in management,” the letter continues. MORE

Harassment widespread in workplaces, finds Statistics Canada

July 8th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

A recent report adds to a growing body of evidence showing harassment in Canadian workplaces is in need of workplace interventions and regulatory enforcement.

Conducted by Statistics Canada this report, using survey data from 9,000 respondents living in the 10 provinces aged 15 to 64 who worked for pay in 2016, found almost one in five women had been harassed at work at some point during the year while one in every eight men reported similar experiences.

For the purposes of this survey, harassment included verbal abuse, humiliating behaviour, threats, violence and unwanted sexual attention or harassment.

Women report more abuse

Verbal abuse was experienced most often with 13 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men reporting it in the prior 12 months. Next most prevalent was humiliating behaviour reported by six per cent of women and five per cent of men.

Women were found to suffer physical violence at twice the rate of men and five times as likely to report sexual harassment or unwanted sexual attention—this last point echoing prior research. For women, being young, single or unmarried was found to add to sexual harassment vulnerability. Researchers suggest these characteristics may be “proxies for less seniority at work and poor job quality—factors that may increase the likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace to the extent that they imply low organizational power.”

Harassment was more pronounced among women and men who identified as homosexual or bisexual compared to heterosexuals. Excess suffering was also experienced by aboriginal compared to non-aboriginal women.

The survey also found clients, customers, supervisors and managers were the most common reported source of harassment. Not surprising then women and men employed in sectors involving direct contact with the public report the most harassment with health occupations leading the way—again echoing prior research. In this sector, 27 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men indicated they had suffered harassment in the last year.

Beyond the immediate source of harassment, Stats Can researchers looked at the association between workplace harassment and work environment. Surveyed workers reported several factors indicating a poor-quality work environment, including a lack of input into decision making, competition among colleagues, conflict with managers, and unmanageable workloads. A full 40 per cent of women for instance reported rarely or never experiencing manageable workloads. By way of explaining their reasons for pursuing these factors in the survey, the researchers observed, “Previous research suggests that the psychosocial quality of the work environment is an important determinant of workplace harassment.”

Employer obligations

Recognized as a global workplace problem, the International Labour Organization recently passed a convention recognizing harassment and violence “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse…is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.” It serves as a reminder for member states, including Canada, they have a responsibility to promote a “general environment of zero tolerance.”

Here in Ontario, employers have legal obligations to address the issue of workplace harassment and violence pursuant to Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Chief among these obligations is the requirement to develop a workplace harassment policy (in addition to a workplace violence policy). Employers must also develop a harassment program, which includes measures and procedures for workers to report incidents and how they will be investigated and addressed. Unfortunately, unlike the violence program requirements, OSHA has no specific requirement for the prevention of harassment — an omission many health and safety activists say must be amended. Regardless, employers must provide all workers with information and instruction on the content of the workplace harassment (and violence) policy and program.

Data recently obtained by the Globe and Mail show more than 3,500 Ontario employers were cited for violating these violence and harassment obligationsover an 18 month period ending January, 2018.

Though, this Statistics Canada survey and other research suggest non-compliance is even more common with worker representatives calling for “meaningful and consistent enforcement” of these laws and Criminal Code provisions.

Legal implications outside the scope of the OHSA can also be costly. In February, 2019, Ontario Superior Court awarded nearly $200,000 in damagesto a worker who alleged suffering abuse and harassment and had informed the employer on more than one occasion and asked for intervention. The employer ignored the request.

Employers also face financial costs for absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover and lower productivity related to the stress and mental health outcomes of harassment at work.

 

Source: WHSC.COM

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and '70s

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and ’70s

July 8th, 2019 General News

Source:

An Ottawa-area priest preyed on vulnerable teens, luring them with sports and alcohol as he gratified his sexual desires, an Ontario court said last week in finding him guilty of sexual assault-related charges linked to incidents in the 1960s and ’70s.

In 2017, William McGrory was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency — outdated offences that no longer exist in the Criminal Code — in connection with three complainants, but court documents say one of them died, prompting two counts of the offences to be dropped.

McGrory pleaded not guilty and his lawyers argued that his accusers, identified only as J.B. and R.G., were not credible because there were inconsistencies in their accounts.

During a seven-day trial before a judge alone that began in April, court heard the boys, now in their 60s, had difficult family situations and grew close to McGrory, who was involved in church youth groups. The priest would play football and hockey with them, then drink alcohol with them afterward, court heard.

He would also invite boys to visit him at his rectory in Richmond, Ont., to do chores or watch sports, court heard. It was there that McGrory sexually abused them, though one of the complainants said it also happened at his home, court heard. MORE

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