Money Mart "completely failed" to investigate sexual harassment

TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Marjorie Harriott told her district manager about the "relentless" sexual harassment from her boss and the company "completely failed" to investigate complaints about the manager at a Toronto Money Mart office. Vice Chair Alan Whyte of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered Money Mart to amend their harassment and discrimination policy and distribute it to every employee in Ontario. The company must also train all Ontario managerial staff about human rights.

Vice Chair Alan Whyte found there were "numerous references in the evidence to the derogatory, insulting and crude comments ... created an uncomfortable, unwelcome, unprofessional, sexualized atmosphere" that led Ms. Harrott to a state of "panic attacks and vomiting."

In his 58-page written decision Whyte also found that the Money Mart district manager "proceeded to attack the applicant about the validity of her complaint and whether she understood what sexual harassment was, despite the fact that she was the company representative who knew of the complaints that she had received in previous months from other female employees." The Vice Chair noted "It must be borne in mind that sexual harassment is usually more about abuse of power and control than actual sexuality, and I find the applicant was very vulnerable to (the manager's) authority and his ability to influence her job with the company."

"I'm still shaken. It was so important to have the adjudicator believe me and address what happened, not just for me but all their employees in Ontario," said Ms. Harriott. "When I told the company what was happening and they did nothing, I felt sicker than ever. I'm trying to rebuild my life and my health," continued Ms. Harriott.

In addition to the orders about making sure all Money Mart employees know their rights, Ms. Harriott was personally awarded $30,000 for the harm she experienced as a result of the sexual harassment.

Kate Sellar, Ms. Harriott's lawyer from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre commented, "Employers have an obligation to take allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace seriously, and to investigate fully and fairly. The law is clear."

SOURCE Human Rights Legal Support Centre

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews: Jennifer Ramsay, Human Rights Legal Support Centre, (416) 326-7253, mobile: (416) 522-5931

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