Posts in Respect in the Workplace

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

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

Former Halifax transit worker receives record $593K award in harassment case, respect, training, workplace harassment prevention, prevention training, abuse training

Former Halifax transit worker receives record $593K award in harassment case

May 16th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace, Uncategorised

Source: Elizabeth Chiu · CBC News · 

A Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry has handed down an award of nearly $600,000 to a former Metro Transit bus garage worker after finding he was the victim of racial harassment and discrimination by management and co-workers.

It’s the largest amount ever awarded by the commission.

The inquiry heard that Y.Z., a mechanic, was targeted with verbal racial slurs, graffiti in the washroom, vandalism of tools and assault between 2002 and 2007. A bus was used to terrorize him by brushing past him.

Y.Z., who is white, is married to a black woman. He told the inquiry his marriage made him the focus of racial taunting.

A psychologist told the inquiry that Y.Z. has been diagnosed as having somatic symptom disorder, major depressive disorder and PTSD.

‘Bad place physically and psychologically’

The psychologist, Myles Genest, said there are “no grounds to suggest [Y.Z.] would be experiencing his current disabling conditions were it not for his experience of negative work environment and threat to his safety in the workplace.”

[Y.Z.’s] in “such a bad place physically and psychologically that it almost has a life of its own now,” the psychologist told the inquiry.

In 2007, the former Metro Transit worker attempted suicide and since then has been “largely housebound” due to his fear of encountering employees from the bus garage. MORE

Strategic alliance formed to support ‘Keeping Respect Alive’ in Canadian workplaces, WFI, workplace fairness institute, alberta, sheldon kennedy, respect, Workplace abuse, healthy workplaces, psychologically safe workplaces, workplace abuse, abuse prevention, harassment prevention training

Strategic alliance formed to support ‘Keeping Respect Alive’ in Canadian workplaces

May 14th, 2019 Press Releases, Respect in the Workplace

 

We are excited to announce a partnership between Respect Group and The Workplace Fairness Institute. Respect Group, a forward-thinking organization founded by former NHLer turned victims’ rights crusader Sheldon Kennedy delivers web-based training to organizations to equip employees with the education and skills needed to address bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in the workplace. Workplace Fairness provides services to Respect Group certified organizations to support them with the next steps of “Keeping Respect Alive”.

“We believe in Keeping Respect Alive and we know that our Respect in the Workplace on-line training is the first step in starting the conversation.  We have partnered with the Workplace Fairness Institute because keeping that workplace conversation going is greatly enhanced through the support of a third party.” says Sheldon Kennedy, Co-Founder of Respect Group. “We see this as an optimal collaboration to further support organizations.”

Respect Group’s highly interactive, foundational training establishes a baseline of knowledge for employees with regards to bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) and is having a significant impact in workplaces across the country.  Working from this baseline the Workplace Fairness Institute brings their suite of facilitation, coaching and mediation services to imbed respectful behaviours by building capacity to manage conflict, increase collaboration and effectively implement change.

“We support organizations to foster a healthy culture based on a core value of equity of concern and respect,” says Blaine Donais, President and Founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute. “We are thrilled to be supporting Sheldon and Respect Group to provide people and organizations with fair, effective and sustainable solutions for resolving and managing workplace conflicts. We hold the common belief that psychological health and safety is important for every employee. ”

By joining forces, Workplace Fairness and Respect Group can support organizations to identify BAHD behaviours, address issues underlying these behaviours and empower employees to speak out to ensure a psychologically safe workplace.

About Workplace Fairness

The Workplace Fairness Institute (www.workplacefairness.ca) and their partner, Workplace Fairness West (www.workplacefairnesswest.ca) focus on supporting organizations to create safe workplaces.  Working with their over 150 certified Fairness Analysts across Canada they support organizations to enhance and build strong conflict management systems that involve and engage employees.  Their conflict resolution professionals have solid expertise in areas of facilitation, coaching, mediation and providing Ombuds services.

About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group (respectgroupinc.com) was incorporated in 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Respect Group is made up of a team of over 30 talented individuals whose passion is to create a global culture of Respect. As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (bcorporation.net).

Ontario PCs criticized for appointing all-male panel to review OPP culture

May 1st, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The Ontario government has appointed an all-male panel to probe workplace culture at the provincial police force, raising questions about whether the review will adequately address gender discrimination and harassment issues facing female employees.

Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones on Monday announced that Ontario will spend up to $500,000 for an independent review panel to examine culture at the Ontario Provincial Police following recent suicides, as well as complaints by current and former OPP staff.

The three-member panel will consist of former Superior Court associate chief justice Douglas Cunningham, former deputy attorney-general Murray Segal and former NDP cabinet minister David Cooke.

In an interview, Ms. Jones said the government chose its three panelists based on experience in government and the judiciary.

“We wanted that expertise and unfortunately in this particular panel … we couldn’t put in a female at this time,” she said.

“The Premier has appointed the solicitor-general and the attorney-general as females, so I don’t think it’s a case of being excluded. We first and foremost wanted individuals who had experience and background in this type of work, which is why we’ve asked these three individuals to serve.”

Ms. Jones said the panel’s agenda will be driven by the feedback it hears from OPP members, civilian workers, retired officers and the general public, and that much of the work will be completed online.

“We have to be fiscally responsible. And frankly, a lot of these stories, I’m not sure that people would want to share in a very public forum,” she said.

Ms. Jones has said the OPP is facing a mental-health crisis, with 13 officers having taken their own lives since 2012. She called the statistics “deeply concerning.”

Ms. Jones said the panel’s review will be “comprehensive,” with an interim report by midsummer and a final report expected by fall. They will be paid a standard per diem of $1,200 for days they work.

The OPP’s Civilian Association of Managers and Specialists (CAMS), which currently has a complaint before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging systemic gender discrimination by the service, expressed disappointment with the “ironic” lack of female representation on the panel.

“If the issues of systemic gender discrimination are left out of the review, unfortunately, the panel will become another example of the lack of insight by the OPP about our work and the conditions of our work where women are viewed as second class,” OPP human-resources manager Lee-Anne McFarlane said in an e-mail statement on behalf of CAMS.

Debra Langan, an associate professor of criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University, said academic research has highlighted the need for cultural changes in policing.

“I find it shocking that the committee is to be made up of all men. I wonder how that kind of decision was made,” Prof. Langan said.

Both the NDP and Liberals said the Progressive Conservative government missed an opportunity to represent women. “Their voices and their perspectives should be part of that panel,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said.

Linda Duxbury, a professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, has worked with numerous police services across Canada through her research. She said her main concern isn’t that the panel does not include any women – it’s that it doesn’t include any police officers.

“I would have expected to have people who knew something about policing, and/or about mental health, and/or about organizational culture. They picked people who – it seems like they’re political appointments,” she said. “If I was to be extremely cynical – which, believe me, many police officers are – this is again the Ford government showing the OPP who’s boss.”

The creation of the panel comes after the government announced new mental-health supports for provincial police officers last month. The province will fully fund that program, with the police union delivering it. MORE

63% report experiencing sexual harassment on campus, Ontario survey shows

63% report experiencing sexual harassment on campus, Ontario survey shows

April 16th, 2019 Respect in School, Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: The Canadian Press · 

 

The Ontario government says 63 per cent of university students who took a province-wide survey on campus sexual violence reported they have experienced some type of sexual harassment.

Nearly 50 per cent of college students surveyed reported the same.

Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, called the results of the survey — completed by 116,000 university students and 42,000 college students — disturbing.

The province will also now require all colleges and universities to report annually on the measures taken to support students who have experienced sexual violence.

Schools will also be required to review their sexual violence policies and form task forces to address the issue by September.

The survey, called the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey, was made up of over 50 questions that gauged respondents’ perceptions of consent and rape myths, their experiences with sexual violence, and how well they think their school responds to reports of sexual violence.

Tribunal upholds WCB's finding that man's job at Sask. RM led to his suicide

Tribunal upholds WCB’s finding that man’s job at Sask. RM led to his suicide

March 26th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

The Rural Municipality of Parkdale has lost its final appeal against a Workers’ Compensation Board decision attributing the suicide of ones of its workers to his job.

Robert Duhaime of Vawn, Sask., died by suicide on Aug. 31, 2017.

In February, 2018, the WCB concluded Duhaime’s death stemmed from his employment as a grader operator at the RM of Parkdale. His widow, Brenda, said her husband was being bullied and harassed on the job.After Duhaime’s death the WCB accepted a claim, saying there was sufficient information to attribute his mental health issues and his subsequent death to his employment.

 

The RM denied it was at fault in the death and appealed the WCB decision. When the initial appeal was rejected, the RM took it to the next level of appeal: the WCB tribunal.

In its appeal, the RM said Duhaime had a pre-existing mental health condition and that some statements made by witnesses in the initial investigation were fabricated. It also said the WCB had “ignored” some witness statements from some of the people accused of bullying.

CBC has obtained the tribunal report that rejects the RM’s appeal and concludes again that Duhaime’s death was the result of his employment.

“There was evidence of prior mental health issues, but the specific causative factor for the suicide was the workplace issues,” reads the report. MORE

Remai Modern CEO Gregory Burke under investigation by human rights commission for alleged workplace harassment

Remai Modern CEO Gregory Burke under investigation by human rights commission for alleged workplace harassment

March 26th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: CBC News

Guy Quenneville · CBC News · 

 

Gregory Burke, the outgoing CEO and executive director of Saskatoon’s Remai Modern Art Museum, is under investigation by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for alleged workplace harassment dating back to his time at the Mendel Art Gallery.

According to a document obtained by CBC News, the complaint was filed with the commission by a woman who worked with Burke at the Mendel, now known as Remai Modern.

CBC News is not identifying the woman, whose allegation has not been proven in court. Her lawyer also confirmed the complaint.

Burke did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The commission document obtained by CBC News does not detail the specifics of the allegation. The corporate entities for both Mendel Art Gallery and Remai Modern are named alongside Burke as respondents.

“My aim investigating this complaint is to determine the facts and gather relevant perspectives on the situation,” wrote commission investigator Lewanna Dubray in the document.

Dubray said she is seeking information from the complainant, Burke and “all potential witnesses.”

The commission would neither confirm nor deny the complaint or investigation.

“The commission is an unbiased organization,” the commission said in a statement to CBC News. “As a matter of general principle, and because of privacy concerns, the commission does not discuss or disclose the particulars of ongoing complaints.” MORE

Sexually harassed Canada Revenue Agency worker to get $40,000 in damages

Sexually harassed Canada Revenue Agency worker to get $40,000 in damages

March 26th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: Montreal Gazette

PRESSE CANADIENNE

 

A Canada Revenue Agency employee has been awarded $40,000 after being a victim of sexual harassment in her workplace. And her employer has been ordered to reimburse her the $23,000 in care she received to treat the depression and anxiety she suffered as a result of the incidents.

In its ruling, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board ordered the CRA to pay the employee $20,000 for pain and suffering as well as $20,000 for having mismanaged her harassment case.

According to the worker’s union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the amounts awarded are the maximum permitted under Canadian human rights legislation.

The harassment occurred between May and October of 2010 and saw the worker receive multiple invitations for coffee or lunch from her section leader. He also offered her rides home, sent her texts at night and on weekends, had chocolates delivered to her at her office address, offered to help her around the house and sent her CDs of love songs including “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.”

The worker filed a grievance and an independent investigation ordered by the CRA established 13 incidents of sexual harassment. MORE

CONTACT US

Copyright © Respect Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Respect Group offers 24/7 bilingual helpdesk support.

To Assist our Helpdesk, we request you access the URL of the program where you are experiencing difficulty.

When viewing the program URL, you will see a link for Helpdesk Support in the lower left-hand corner . Click on this link to see brief troubleshooting steps or contact the Helpdesk.