April 29, 2016

Human Rights Adjudicator finds employees forced to tolerate poisoned work environment

A Government-appointed adjudicator has found that three employees were harassed under The Human Rights Code by their employer.  Over the course of two years, the owner of A+ Financial Services Ltd. created a toxic and intimidating work environment for his employees and subjected the two female employees to unwanted sexual advances. 

The three employees filed complaints with The Manitoba Human Rights Commission.  The complaints were heard jointly over the course of an 8-day hearing before Adjudicator Robert Dawson. The Commission represents the public’s interest in enforcing human rights and presented numerous “joke” emails sent by the owner containing racist and vulgar content and photos.  “It is simply vile and disgusting that anyone in a workplace environment should send such materials to anyone else”, wrote Dawson, distressed that the owner did not appreciate the “inappropriateness – and illegality – of his conduct.” 

Dawson recognized the severity of the owner’s conduct, awarding each complainant $20,000 for injury to their dignity, feelings and self-respect. 

The Commission’s Chairperson Yvonne Peters, emphasized the importance of this decision.  “We still hear too often from employees who are forced to endure sexist and racist comments and conduct in their workplaces.  This decision makes it very clear that owners and managers have the responsibility under The Human Rights Code to create environments that are respectful, inclusive and safe.

Employers can learn more about their rights and responsibilities under The Human Rights Code by visiting the Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s website.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Pam Roberts       
Human Rights Officer, Communications
Manitoba Human Rights Commission
Main: 204-726-6262
Cell: 204-223-9163
Email: pam.roberts@gov.mb.ca