New workplace complaint process on way: Pallister
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.