Lewd behaviour lowers value of employee’s severance

Employee's complaint led to discovery that the employee was guilty of harassing behaviour herself
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/03/2012

An Ontario worker’s flouting of her employer’s sexual harassment policies was wilful misconduct that cancelled her entitlement to severance pay, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has ruled.

Niluka Somaratna worked in the processing department of a Value Village retail store in Ontario. Her job involved sorting products that the store received from its non-profit partners, pricing it and putting it out for sale in the store.

In 2009, Value Village trained all its employees, including Somaratna, on its anti-harassment and respect in the workplace policies. However, not long after, Value Village received complaints of inappropriate behaviour at Somaratna’s store. As a result, Value Village decided to transfer a new manager to the store, one who was known to have zero tolerance for such behaviour. The manager started at the store on Feb. 1, 2010.