Board told to re­view re­dress for bor­der-agency of­fi­cer

Times Colonist - - News -

OT­TAWA — The board re­spon­si­ble for hear­ing griev­ances by fed­eral gov­ern­ment work­ers must re­con­sider a de­ci­sion af­ter the Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal found it down­played a sex­ual as­sault as a “prank,” and used its “own con­cept of logic” in­stead of as­sess­ing ac­tual ev­i­dence.

The case in­volves a griev­ance filed to the Pub­lic Ser­vice Labour Re­la­tions and Em­ploy­ment Board by a Cana­dian Bor­der Ser­vices Agency of­fi­cer work­ing at the Peace Arch bor­der cross­ing south of Van­cou­ver.

The of­fi­cer, iden­ti­fied only as Jane Doe, al­leged at a board hear­ing that the agency didn’t pro­vide a ha­rass­ment-free work­place when she was as­saulted in 2009, and her com­plaint was par­tially up­held by the board, al­though it also ruled com­pen­sa­tion was not war­ranted.

In its unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, the three-mem­ber Fed­eral Ap­peal Court panel says the board la­belled the ac­tions of her co­worker as “rep­re­hen­si­ble,” a “vul­gar prank” and “hu­mil­i­at­ing in the mo­ment,” yet it also re­jected com­pen­sa­tion for the woman.

The board found her re­sponse to “one un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence,” was “ex­treme,” and “grossly ex­ag­ger­ated,” al­though her em­ployer did not dis­pute that she en­dured vul­gar and sex­u­ally vi­o­lent com­ments for more than a year from the same man be­fore be­ing at­tacked.

In her de­ci­sion, Jus­tice Eleanor Daw­son finds the board ig­nored the Cana­dian Hu­man Rights Act re­quire­ment for com­pen­sa­tion and also in­ter­preted the term “com­pen­sa­tion” too nar­rowly so it must send the case to a dif­fer­ent board ad­ju­di­ca­tor to re­solve.

STU­ART DAVIS, VAN­COU­VER SUN

Cars ap­proach the U.S. bor­der at the Peace Arch Cross­ing.

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