Josephson Litigation Counsel

Workplace harassment should not be left to fester

For business owners in British Columbia, it is important to develop effective strategies to manage emerging workplace issues. Employment disputes can be damaging to any company, especially if problems are left unaddressed and allowed to escalate. Some potentially serious problems include issues relating to discrimination, harassment or bullying in the workplace. In these specific circumstances, some employees may remain silent for years out of fear of reprisal or retaliation.

One former employee of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently told a Judge in Provincial Court how she still suffers the consequences of a sexual assault that happened in her Vancouver workplace in 2009. The woman alleged that an inspector who has since retired, assaulted her sexually in a washroom that was locked. The accused man has pleaded guilty to the charge which was filed in May 2016 -- five months after he retired.

The plaintiff says she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes nightmares, pain in her knees, hips, back and neck. Furthermore, she claims to struggle with concentration and has difficulty forming sentences -- often having to write words down before she can put them together to speak. Court documents included several work performance appraisals showing the Plaintiff to have been a committed employee.

It is unclear how this case will end, but much damage might have been prevented if the issue had been dealt with sooner. Companies facing situations that have a potential to become litigious employment disputes are wise to seek legal advice. An experienced employment lawyer can provide guidance for employers on what action to take to prevent the problems in teh first place, or to resolve the issues and limit further liability. Retaining the services of a law firm that can provide sound legal advice and suggest practical solutions to address any issues makes good business sense.

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