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Pankhurst and Treasury Board (Canadian International Development Agency)
Before: R. Simpson
Appearances: D. Brown and D. Demirdache, for the Grievor; H. Newman and W. Reid, for the Employer
Decision rendered: October 18, 1999
Termination (disciplinary) – Harassment and sexual harassment – Assessment of credibility – Remedy – Reinstatement – following the receipt of complaints from four young female employees whom grievor supervised, the employer terminated his employment for having harassed and sexually harassed them – although grievor conceded that he had done some of the things alleged against him, he denied the more serious allegations including those relating to sexual assault in relation to two of the complainants – three of the complainants were junior level employees employed on a term basis – the fourth complainant was an entry level consultant working on contract – adjudicator pointed out that, in socializing with the complainants to the extent that he did and engaging in inappropriate conversations with them respecting personal matters, the grievor embarked on a course of conduct which was foolish and dangerous – at least some of the complainants felt pressured to socialize with the grievor while at work and this made them nervous and uncomfortable – the grievor engaged in a course of conduct that was unwelcome and offensive to the complainants – he introduced an element of intimacy with sexual overtones into their workplace which was inappropriate to the work environment and which made the complainants uncomfortable – in light of their very vulnerable circumstances, the complainants were reluctant to complain – they felt obliged to please the grievor as he was their supervisor – adjudicator concluded that some of the allegations of harassment and sexual harassment against the grievor had been proved – however, a number of allegations made by two of the complainants relating to incidents of kissing, sexual assault and extreme sexual language had not been proved on a balance of probabilities – adjudicator determined that discharge was too severe a penalty under the circumstances and substituted therefor a six-month suspension without pay or other benefits.
Grievance allowed in part.
Case cited: Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd., 1 S.C.R. 1252.