Worker suffers years of sexual harassment, assault at work

Shoe store employee was immigrant and single mother; Tribunal awards $200,000 for nearly 20 years of sexual abuse by store owner
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/18/2018

An Ontario worker has won more than $200,000 in human rights damages for many years of sexual harassment and assault she endured at the hands of her employer.

The 59-year-old worker was an immigrant from Thailand who came to Canada in 1979. She was hired for her first job in Canada four years later by Joe Singer Shoes in Toronto, owned at the time by Joe Singer. Eventually, the shoe store was taken over by Joe Singer’s son, Paul Singer, and the worker moved into an apartment above the store with her son in 1989 when she separated from her husband. The Singers also owned the apartment.

According to the worker, a few years after she began working at the shoe store, Paul Singer began making inappropriate and sexually charged comments towards her and inappropriately touching her. This was particularly difficult for her because there was little physical touching even in her family and she had gotten married before getting intimate with her husband. When the worker told Singer not to act this way towards her, he laughed at her and told her no one would believe her.