Everybody gets a piece of harassment damages

Handful of workers complained but arbitrator rules all staff suffered from poisoned work environment
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A group of Nova Scotia employees have been awarded $10,000 — or $400 each — as reparations for a prolonged period of harassment and intimidation carried out by a former manager that wasn’t addressed by the employer.

From 2002 to 2006, several employees of the tissue bank for the Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) in Halifax complained to CDHA individually that the tissue bank’s manager, Jim Mohr, subjected them to a “persistent pattern of unreasonable and objectionable behaviour,” including inappropriate sexual remarks, offensive comments about employees’ race and sexual orientation and discrimination based on gender. Some employees also claimed Mohr sometimes spoke to them in a threatening manner and taunted them with their job security.

Despite complaints by eight individual employees, CDHA didn’t do anything to remedy the situation. Two of the employees had to take four months each of sick leave because of the stress caused by their work environment. Another quit his job.