New work­place com­plaint process on way: Pal­lis­ter

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - — Joyanne Pursaga

Pre­mier Brian Pal­lis­ter says he’s han­dled two com­plaints of in­ap­pro­pri­ate work­place con­duct since be­com­ing pre­mier in 2016 and will soon an­nounce mea­sures to im­prove the com­plaint process for such in­ci­dents.

Pal­lis­ter didn’t re­veal de­tails of the com­plaints or whether pun­ish­ment fol­lowed them, cit­ing pri­vacy con­cerns.

In each case, he said the is­sue was ad­dressed to the com­plainant’s sat­is­fac­tion.

“I know of con­cerns, they’ve been raised and they’ve been dealt with in an ap­pro­pri­ate way to pro­tect the com­plainant from a re­peat of that type of in­ci­dent,” he said.

The pre­mier’s com­ments fol­low re­cent al­le­ga­tions from seven women against for­mer NDP min­is­ter Stan Struthers, who was ac­cused of grop­ing, tick­ling and mak­ing sex­ual com­ments on the job over sev­eral years. Some women also al­leged they re­ported the be­hav­iour to their su­pe­ri­ors but were told to “suck it up,” while Struthers was never for­mally dis­ci­plined.

Pal­lis­ter urged his own staff to re­port all such in­ci­dents.

“This cul­ture of con­ceal­ment un­der the pre­vi­ous NDP govern­ment caused these prob­lems ... The sys­tem, as it was, was not good,” he said.

The pre­mier said he’ll an­nounce changes some­time next week that make it eas­ier for po­lit­i­cal and civil ser­vice staff to re­port sex­ual and other mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions. He said that ef­fort would in­clude an arm’s length en­tity to re­ceive com­plaints.

“We’re go­ing to be mak­ing some spe­cific an­nounce­ments around changes that I think will help to make sure that we don’t ever see a re­peat of these types of sit­u­a­tions,” said Pal­lis­ter.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew has promised a com­mis­sion to de­ter­mine ex­actly what hap­pened in the Struthers’ case and ex­plore the broader is­sue of work­place mis­con­duct. Both Kinew and for­mer Pre­mier Greg Selinger have apol­o­gized to women who re­ported the al­le­ga­tions, as has Struthers.

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