The Lynch List, 25-Aug-2011

First: The unions get a dose of their own:

Federation officials would not talk Wednesday about the contentious and sensitive case or its cost to members, but union sources revealed the bills surpassed $350,000.

Ken Lewenza, an executive board member and president of the Canadian Auto Workers, said the case turned into a distraction for the federation and wasted funds and valuable staff time.

Hm. Now what would prompt Terry Downey to make a frivolous complaint that would tie up all these resources? I’m not sure, but this might have something to do with it (emphasis mine):

Downey, a former investigator at the Human Rights Commission of Ontario, charged Ryan with workplace discrimination, harassment and reprisals at the federation…

Second: Legal restrictions on the BCHRT simply don’t apply in “egregious” cases, says the Tribunal. Though I don’t argue that the case is egregious, what’s to stop them from throwing off other restrictions in the name of “egregious” complaints?

And though it’s been mentioned before, it bears repeating:

The shuttered company has no funds and a human-rights complaint represents “the only realistic chance of recovery of lost wages over and above those recoverable from the directors of Khaira under the Employment Standards Act,” the tribunal decision says.

So if the complainant was not a racial minority, he would not have this “realistic chance” through the Tribunal to recover his lost wages.

Third: Some interesting commentary on a past case in which the harassment allegations of an executive assistant were dismissed because she participated in and encouraged the inappropriate conduct. Some good questions are asked:

Maintaining a professional environment is important, but people do have feelings. Does being honest with someone about feelings qualify as sexual harassment? Should an employee face sexual harassment accusations for expressing his feelings to a co-worker? If two employees have a personal rapport that sometimes goes outside normal professional boundaries but both are willing participants, at what point does it become harassment, or should it at all?

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