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prototype
Post Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:02 pm

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
To members of CUPE 561 who work at SD43

This thread is for you, and every other worker out there, who wants to learn more about bullying, harassment, discrimination, and your rights.


My name is J. J. and I find the following to be a fitting preamble to begin my story.


On February 25, 2008 Premier Gordon Campbell went public about educating the public about bullying.

February 27 has been proclaimed Anti-Bullying day in BC and Premier Campbell said

Quote:
Anti-Bullying Day is a celebration of those who take action to stop bullies in our schools and around the province
.

The Premier also said

Quote:
It starts with all of us saying bullying is wrong and then standing up for those who become targets.


Education Minister Shirley Bond spoke to reporters on the same day. As reported in the Vancouver Sun Ms. Bond said that today, February 27,

Quote:
will be marked by discussions and other forms of awareness raising. Bond also urged people to become more aware of the problem, and to think about what they can do to help find solutions.


Ms. Bond also said

Quote:
We can put all the programs we want into place but until each one of us takes responsible (sic) for our behaviour, and certainly not condoning or supporting bullying behaviour, it's going to be difficult to make changes.


On February 19 Barry O'Neill, the President of CUPE BC, sent out an open letter to all CUPE BC Locals with some of the message as follows -

Quote:
Bullying is increasingly being recognized as a serious problem in our schools, workplaces and in society.

At work, personal harassment and bullying undermine the self-esteem and dignity of individuals and creates a hostile or offensive work environment.


Mr. O'Neill also said -

Quote:
Many of you have identified that this is a problem in CUPE workplaces and the first step is awareness.


Then Mr. O'Neill wrote -

Quote:
I’m encouraging all CUPE locals and members to join CKNW’s “BULLYING STOPS HERE” campaign on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 by wearing pink to work on that day.


I'm so glad to read that people in positions of power are finally, and publicly, recognizing the serious problem of bullying in our lives.

However, being the realistic type, I'm prone to be a little skeptical about all the new public proclamations against bullying.

In today's Vancouver Sun is a letter which refers to an article in the Feb. 26 Vancouver Sun entitled "When bullies turn work into hell". The letter says, in part,

Quote:
This article reassures those who have "paid a price" for standing up to bullies that the abuse was not the victim's fault.


The letter writer also said -

Quote:
However, I find the recommendations to take the matter to the company's human resources department, launch a grievance through a union or file a human rights complaint to be fairly naive. Studies have proved that bullying develops in environments where management endeavours to dissolve social bonds, and when management denounces bullying through policy but abets it through action or inaction. Research has shown that the bullies often rise in the organizational ladder.

It has also been determined that the weakening of labour unions results from bullying.


On the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website at http://www.ccohs.ca/ is the following information:

Quote:
What is workplace bullying?

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could 'mentally' hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.
...........

What are examples of bullying?

While bullying is a form of aggression, the actions can be both obvious and subtle. It is important to note that the following is not a checklist, nor does it mention all forms of bullying. This list is included as a way of showing some of the ways bullying may happen in a workplace. Also remember that bullying is usually considered to be a pattern of behaviour where one or more incidents will help show that bullying is taking place.

Examples include:

• spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo that is not true
• excluding or isolating someone socially
• intimidating a person
• undermining or deliberately impeding a person's work
• physically abusing or threatening abuse
• removing areas of responsibilities without cause
• constantly changing work guidelines
• establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail
• withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information
• making jokes that are 'obviously offensive' by spoken word or e-mail
• intruding on a person's privacy by pestering, spying or stalking
• assigning unreasonable duties or workload which are unfavourable to one person (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure)
• underwork - creating a feeling of uselessness
• yelling or using profanity
• criticising a person persistently or constantly
• belittling a person's opinions
• unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment
• blocking applications for training, leave or promotion
• tampering with a person's personal belongings or work equipment.

For comprehensive information about bullying check out these websites -

http://www.bullyeq.com/bol/
http://www.nobullyforme.org/
http://www.bullyingcanada.ca
www.mobbing.ca
www.bullying.org
http://www.ceiu.net/bullying.html
http://bullyinginstitute.org/
http://www.andreaadamstrust.org/

There are a lot of court / tribunal / arbitration cases about workers who were bullied / harassed, and many won their cases. Here's an interesting case to check out -

Toronto Transit Commission v. Amalgamated Transit Union (Stina grievance)

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onla/doc/2004/2004canlii55086/2004canlii55086.html


Tomorrow -

more
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Choked
Post Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:48 pm

Joined: 01 Dec 2007
Posts: 40
We're listening...IMO CUPE needs a big shake-up! I know of a case where a CUPE member witnessed a sexual assault/harassment and when the member brought the issue forward he was fired. There was no investigation what-so-ever. When CUPE was approached for help the union leadership denied the member. The leadership said the member was not a member although he provided copies of pay cheque stubs which showed he was (dues deducted). The union based their decision on the employer's word...the "word" of the same guy that is responsible for the sexual assaults. The case is now in the hands of Labour Relations Board (section 12 against the union). I am interested to learn of the outcome. I know the workplace very well...it is a highly toxic environment. I sure hope this guy wins his case.
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prototype
Post Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:08 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
The final decision regarding my case at the BC Human Rights Tribunal came down September 30. Even though I supposedly 'won' the case I do not accept the decision of the Tribunal and plan on going to the BC Supreme Court for Judicial Review. My reasons for the Judicial Review will be revealed here before October 14. I have to set things straight and this is as good a place as any to get started.

Here's a link -

http://www.canada.com/coquitlamnow/news/story.html?id=a8985b90-25ad-449f-aa11-821ec53196f9
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SharynS
Post Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:09 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3393
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
Even though I supposedly 'won' the case I do not accept the decision...
I think that's a fairly common sentiment. The difference (and what "they" rely on) is that most people, for a variety of reasons, are forced to give it up.

I haven't read the tribunal's conclusion (yet), although I suspect I've read it a hundred times.

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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prototype
Post Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:32 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
Over the next few days I'm going to give my reasons as to why I'm going to the BC Supreme Court for a Judicial Review of the Tribunal's decision.

I've set up a blog for the purpose of writing about the facts of the case - the testimony, the documents entered as official exhibits, etc. There'll be a lot of writing involved and I don't want to clog up uncharted's space. I plan on adding to the blog nearly everyday for the next few weeks.

I'd like to discuss the case here, on uncharted, but without using any full names. I'll either use initials or the first name and last initial and I plan on sticking to the facts of the case. I'd like to keep this civilized.

Any questions or comments will be welcome. If anyone would like to send me a private message just click on pm at the end of any of my postings in this thread.

Here's the Blog
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SharynS
Post Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:57 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3393
Location: the 'puter
The ruling is classic! Evidence conveniently or ignorantly omitted and, just as mystically, arbitrary and personal judgment routinely inserted.
Quote:
...while the tribunal found that gender played a part in the reason why J.J. was not offered a continuing casual position with the district, "I have found that there were other reasons that were not related to J.J.'s sex: reasons relating to J.J.'s particular personality and propensity to disregard information given to her by her employer. Thus, even in the absence of the sex discrimination, I find that it is possible that J.J. would not have been placed on the continuing casual list."
Here's what I think Tribunal guru_ess Tonie Beharrell is trying to tell us: Although the complainant was indeed sexually harassed, the brunt of the problem (and blame) lies with her because she didn't try, or try hard enough, to be one of the boys.

What's really disturbing is that ms. b completely lets the people who are guilty of sexual harassment off the hook. Her reasoning seems to go something like this: Since the individual(s) charged were already part of the gang (or were able to quickly form a gang) and since the whole gang felt threatened by the complainant, then the gang was well within it's right to take matters into it's own hands.

ms b's ruling goes on (and on) to say that; if there is an established gang in the workplace - or one can be formed for the purpose of - and if an individual comes along who doesn't go along or doesn't fit in then pretty much anything goes.

Also, according to ms. b, established workplace gangs, and/or gang members, are exempt from seeking resolve through proper channels so long as they are part of a workplace gang.

There may be cases where that could legitimately play out, but that's not at all the case here. The evidence ms. b did allow to be entered on record, shows nothing more damning than that the complainant had a bad case of self-determination. And that it was the complainant's self-determination which irritated and threatened the (predominantly male) gang. (How that diminishes the sexual harassment indictment is mind boggling but apparently it's not for for ms. b)

Ms. Beharrell's ruling shakes out like this: Founded in law or not - workplace gang mentality rules. Victims of established or newly formed workplace gangs must simply try harder to be one of the boys or tough luck baby!

edit= while Ms. Beharrell is well within her right to have an opinion, to my knowledge there is no mandate that provides her the right to ink that opinion as precedent. Clearly this case is/was out of the tribunal's jurisdiction and should be passed to it's rightful jury in whole.

Instead the facts will be piecemeal_ed across jurisdictions and teh half-assed rulings will resurface to harm someone else another day. This is not not justice, it's management.

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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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gbuddy
Post Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:46 pm

Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 77
Location: Vancouver
I haven't read much of Ms. Beharrell's lengthy decision. As a general rule, I'd say that if justice is going to be served in any tribunal or court process, then it can and should be clearly articulated in far fewer pages than this one.

Addendum - I see that a previous (161 page) decision by Beharrell was attacked by Ezra Levant earlier this year:

"I've written about the plumb stupidity of Tonie Beharrell before."

Also, I note that the hearing of this case took a total of about 28 days spread out over 10 months. I've never had any personal dealings with the HRT but this seems to be typical of how all government agencies work - the only interests they really serve are their own.

If you do intend to challenge the HRT decision through judicial review, you should be prepared for more games. The judges of our "superior" courts, including the BC Supreme Court, have sanctioned what goes on in our tribunals (more jobs for hungry LLB's and more revenue for the legal community). The claim that tribunals are more "user friendly" because their processes are more flexible and less rule-bound is nonsense. The Courts' vast body of rules is the same as no rules.

Also, be aware you have only 60 calendar days from the date of the HRT decision (or arguably the date you received it) to file your petition.

The judiciary have been very supportive of the political agenda that allows only privileged members of society access to "due process". The tribunals were intended in large part to keep the peons away from the courts, where we might even choose to have our issues decided by a jury of our peers. The legal establishment doesn't want ordinary citizens participating in any legal processes in any capacity - except when we are facing criminal charges.
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prototype
Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:16 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
Thanks for reading the decision Siggy. You sure figured out one of the main problems quickly enough. But what you said isn't unusual, is it?

Here's a piece of an article about sex stereotyping at the workplace -

Quote:
When Does Sex Stereotyping Occur?

Fiske notes that sex stereotyping most frequently arises in the workplace under the following circumstances:

1. When the target is an isolated, one-of-akind, or few-of-a-kind individual in an otherwise homogeneous environment. The person's distinguishing characteristic is more likely to be a salient factor in decision making in such a situation.

2. When members of a previously excluded group move into jobs that are not traditional for their group. The lack of fit between the person's category and the occupation heightens the tendency to evaluate him or her in terms of group membership rather than individual performance.

3. When information and criteria are ambiguous. Stereotypes provide structure and meaning and are most likely to shape subjective perceptions when the data themselves are open to multiple interpretations.

The rest of the article can be found here -

Sex Stereotyping in the Workplace

I'm still stunned about what the Tribunal Member wrote in her decision, and about what she didn't write. You all wouldn't believe what she left out.

She blames my personality? And from negative testimony from the very same people she said harassed and discriminated against me? From testimony from the same people I complained about? What about all the positive testimony from people who didn't harass me or discriminate against me. Where's that testimony in her decision.

Until that Letter of Expectation I received in August 2005 from my Lead Hand - that's right - my Lead Hand bargaining unit supervisor signed that letter, I never received any complaints about myself in all the years I worked at SD43. But I'll talk about that later.

Tonight I'll comment on the following (italics in brackets are mine, to keep with my own initials rule on this thread) -

Quote:
[495] Above, I have found J.J.’s complaint to be justified in part. Specifically I have found that, on a balance of probabilities, J.J.’s sex was one of the factors which led to the District’s decision to refuse her employment by not placing her on the continuing casual list in November 2005. The question which follows from this finding is the appropriate remedy for this breach of the Code.

............

[516] I have found that the District’s decision not to offer J.J. a continuing casual position in November 2005 was related, in part, to J.J.’s sex. I therefore find that it is appropriate to award J.J. some of the wage loss flowing from that decision.

............

[519] The evidence before me is that (Z. F.) suffered an injury at work some time in April 2006, and was unable to work for a period of time. For any period of time that (Z. F.) was unable to work due to injury, but would otherwise have been working, J.J.’s wage loss should be based on the wages earned by the employee replacing (Z. F.) during that period.

...........

[527] In the circumstances before me, at the time the District offered to hire J.J., she was actively seeking re-employment with the District. Further, the terms of employment were the same as those she had previously operated under. On all of the circumstances, I find that J.J.’s decision to reject the District’s offer was not reasonable, and that she failed in her duty to mitigate her losses in rejecting that offer.

[528] Thus, I find that the District’s responsibility for J.J’s wage loss ended on April 26, 2006, the date that they offered her employment as a temporary casual employee.

[529] Had J.J. accepted employment as a temporary casual employee on the terms outlined by the District, she would have been employed until approximately October 2006. I therefore decline to award any wage loss for the period of April to October 2006.


A few comments on what the Tribunal wrote in para. 495, 516, 519, 528, 529 (as seen above) -

The Tribunal found that the district discriminated against me in November 2005 by not placing me on what she calls the 'continuing casual list'. If I had been on that list I would be called anytime of the year to work, just like Z. F. (the casual painter originally hired in 1998.)

Therefore, since I would be a 'continuing casual', as of November 2005, there would be no need to call me in April as what the Tribunal Member called a 'temporary casual employee', because I would already be working as a 'continuing casual' - as Z.F. was already doing. Same reason for signing the 'Expectations for Seasonal Temporary Appointments' form. I wouldn't have had to sign it if I was rehired in November 2005, as I wouldn't have been considered a 'Seasonal' whatever. Z.F. was put on the list in Nov/05 and he worked continuously (except for his injury) all the way through Oct. 2006.

Also, the word 'casual' never showed up once on that 'Expectations for Seasonal Temporary Appointments' form. That form wasn't meant to be signed by Casual employees. That's why the word 'casual' doesn't show up anywhere on the form - the conditions on the form would have been against the Collective Agreement.

And the word 'seasonal' is nowhere in the Collective Agreement, nor anywhere in school district documents. The word 'casual' showed up on every document relating to my employment at the school district in all the 10 years I worked there.

And there are only temporary positions at the school district, not temporary employees.

All CUPE bargaining unit employees are covered by the Collective Agreement. There are no exceptions.

Nowhere in the Collective Agreement does it state that Casual Painters are to be treated any differently than any other casual employees.

And as for the matter of Unions and Employers trying to force employees to sign forms which have no resemblance to any provisions in the Collective Agreement, or that seem to go against provisions in the Collective Agreement, the following case might be helpful -

Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2003 CanLII 29709 (ON C.A.) - see below for link.

See the Blog for the Expectations forms I received in 1996, 2000, and 2006. Read carefully the form I signed in 2000 and then read the one I was told to sign in 2006. The link is below.

I've also posted on the Blog the 2002 - 2003 Collective Agreement (Exhibit 29). That was the only Collective Agreement SD43 & CUPE 561 used until the new one showed up in mid 2006. Even the new CA doesn't mention anything about casual painters.

I'm just getting started.

Blog

Loyalist College v. OPSEU
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wm pasz
Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:55 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Toronto
I'm going to offer up a somewhat different perspective. Please understand that my motivation for doing so is that I'm absolutely sick to death of watching people beating their heads against brick walls and pouring all their energy, time and money into fighting battles that are lost before they even begin.

JJ - you won your case and that's something you can be proud of particularly as it appears that you represented yourself. Beharrell's decision is actually pretty good as these things go. She found that you had been harassed and discriminated against. She ordered some of the remedies you were looking for. Her reasons for denying you the other remedies aren't going to surprise anyone who is familiar with these kinds of cases.

Your chances of success at judicial review are slim - I'd say they're zero. Although you haven't elaborated on what you will be arguing, I'm sure you know this by now but you must establish that Beharrell erred in law and that, as a result, the decision is unreasonable. From my read of the decision, I don't see how you can clear either hurdle. Errors in law don't involve misinterpretations of collective agreements or other tribunals' decisions that don't seem consistent with what happened in your case. The court isn't going to be interested in what rights or entitlements you may have had under your collective agreement, what letters you were asked to sign or whether there was a difference between casual or seasonal employment or any of that stuff. It won't give you back your job, it won't order your former employer to set up a human rights committee or award you any additional money (or any of the other remedies you were seeking). You will spend a lot of time and energy and get nowhere.

If your interest in pursuing this case is to put a stop to workplace bullying, you would be better off using Beharrell's decision and the interest it has generated to promote discussion and raise awareness of this harmful phenomenon. At least some good may come of this. No good will come of judicial review (and forget about the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court - you'll just find a bigger wall against which to beat your head.)

This may sound somewhat harsh but it's time we gave ourselves a good dose of reality people. These judicial venues are not especially helpful when it comes to addressing problems of bad behaviour in the workplace. The way in which Beharrell decided this case leaves the impression of legalistic hair-splitting but that's the nature of legal processes. Adjudicators are fact finders and triers of facts. Their jobs inevitably involve deciding who they believe or don't believe and whether certain behaviours meet certain legal definitions. They can order people and organizations to do things or not do things and so on. Yet problems like workplace bullying and sexual harassment can't be fully resolved through these legalistic procedures. At best, each decision addresses certain aspects or a particular situation. It doesn't solve the whole problem and it doesn't get at the root cause of the problem.

This is why, while I'm encouraged to see heightened awareness of workplace bullying these days, I shudder to think that this issue will also one day be addressed through these inadequate and ineffective means. Look, harassment complaints have been proceeding before human rights and other tribunals for the better part of three decades now. We've had 30 years of anti-harassment policies, human rights committees, sensitivity training, respectful workplace posters. Has the problem been cured? No. Maybe it's not as widespread as it once but it's still going on. The methods are the same, the impact on the victims is the same. What's scary about the prospect of workplace bullying being dealt with this way, is that it tends to be even more difficult to prove. The bullying that JJ endured was pretty overt but a lot of it is a lot more subtle and not nearly as obvious. Indeed, bullying is "built in" to the structure and methods of "managing people" in any organization that is structured along traditional hierarchical lines.

And this then takes me to what I believe is at the root of the workplace bullying/workplace harassment problem: Power relations.

Behind every situation that involves some sort of workplace conflict or tension, there are issues about power of human beings over other human beings - people wielding it, wanting it, reacting to it. Power can be formal (like that of a supervisor over a group of workers) but it can also manifest in many other ways. If you don't have formal power, you can still exert power over others by using many of the same techniques - intimidation, humiliation, undermining - all those behaviours that people have taken to calling bullying.

Why does this happen? I don't buy the conventional wisdom (that workplace bullying is the product of bad hiring decisions, not enough discipline, too much stress, poorly trained supervisors, psychological problems, lack of sensitivity training and so on). Despite a lot of effort to create more respectful workplaces, bullying seems to be as prevalent today as it ever was (it may even be worse).

I believe that the root cause of the workplace bullying problem is the hierarchical structure of the workplace which encourages and causes people to treat each other badly. In the hierarchical structure, power over others is everything and so people wield it, want it, react to it, hurt others and are hurt by it. In the hierarchy, people fear and mistrust those with more power than themselves and seek to increase their own power. I've always been amazed at the number of people I've met over the years who complain bitterly about the way they are treated by others but seem oblivious to the fact they themselves are eager to "do unto others". This doesn't excuse anyone's behaviour but it's how power relations work in the conventional workplace.

For this reason I didn't take Beharrell's references to JJ's "personality" as being a contributing factor to her issues with her co-workers as victim-blaming. I think that Beharrell was referring to JJ's style of communication with her co-workers. It actually seems that problems associated with people "bossing" people around and being in charge or not in charge crop up a lot throughout this decision. While this doesn't excuse anyone's behaviour, it may point to the root of an ugly problem in this unhealthy work environment.

So anyway, having said all that, JJ congrats on your win. Good luck to you if you proceed to JR but be ready for a big disappointment if you go there. Give some thought to other strategies for raising awareness about the bullying problem.

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Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else. - Malcolm X
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SharynS
Post Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:57 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3393
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
...the root...
As is, the system does not or can not address the root of anything, it's simply not geared, equipped nor intended to do so. I like the idea of pounding it from every direction and whenever possible. However futile it may be on a personal level I don't see a good honest challenge as completely futile. Win or lose a couple things happen: it raises general awareness and perhaps, the conscious(ness) of those who administer it. For the most part, and other than a few high profile cases, people have tended to take this shit at face value and it's created somewhat of a lull in the change department.

On one hand I absolutely agree with wm, the odds of real or effective resolve is pretty much nil and another approach is way past due and in the end will be more beneficial. On the other hand, I'm just a lOttle nervous about letting the system and it's keepers fester and rule on without specific challenge. So I'm for some of both wherever possible. It's not for the faint at heart for sure, but I have to cheer resistance at every turn and from all sides.

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prototype
Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:38 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
Pasz, thanks for your thoughtful response. But, unfortunately, if everyone thought the way you write in your article nothing in this world would ever change. Most people would 'let it go' and things would stay the same. And then the next woman coming into the same situation would suffer the same results. No way.

I've studied literally hundreds of cases in the past 2 and a half years. People, especially women and minorities, are treated atrociously in the workplace all over the world. Or anybody who's different from the rest of the crowd. Retaliation against people who complain of harassment is very common, and predictable, I found out.

I think about the Bonnie Robichaud case, one of the leading cases in Canada. That woman had everything going against her when she took on her employer in court all those years ago, but her case helped change laws in Canada. She had guts and I admire people like her. And it's because of people like her that people like you and me have a certain amount of protection in the workplace now. It's not perfect, but it's better than the total lack of protection women had before the 80's.

The following is from - http://www.mcgill.ca/reporter/38/12/pov/

Quote:
Section 15 of the Charter gave courts the power to strike down laws that discriminate "on the basis of sex, race, disability, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, age and/or any other analogous ground." The first of many key cases was the Robichaud vs. Canada Treasury Board case. Bonnie Robichaud, a feisty woman, filed a case against her supervisor for sexually harassing her. In its decision, the Supreme Court of Canada articulated the concept of a positive obligation for the employer to establish and maintain a workplace free of sexual harassment. It also ruled that human rights laws must be enforceable so that discrimination can be identified and eliminated.

That case is Robichaud v. Canada (Treasury Board), [1987] 2 S.C.R. 84

I'm a female in a male dominated trade. Most of the guys I've gotten along with on the jobs. Some I've even made friends with. But some others, geez. I didn't survive for 28 years in the commercial painting trade by just giving up everytime things got tough. Sometimes you lose the battle, but you have to aim to win the war.

I did everything right at that school district. I worked hard, did everything my foremen and lead hands told me to do, never ever complained about anything (until 2002), and tried to get along with everyone. I had a near-perfect attendance record - until the last couple of years, never been on Worker's compensation, and was fair with everyone when I was in charge of jobs. And don't anyone here doubt it, I was in charge of jobs - in exactly the same manner as all the men before me. Only difference was they got paid for doing it and I didn't know that until the CUPE investigation in 2006.

Things only started changing for me when I started questioning why I suddenly had no seniority. I never got a real truthful answer. And nobody ever put a grievance in, knowing that I was the female and was at the school district as a casual painter the longest.

If I just ignore this and walk away nothing will change at SD43.

I used to trust, respect, and like my lead hand supervisor. I used to like my long-time casual co-workers. I was actually friends with 2 of them the last few years. I used to like all the full-time painters. But, one by one, the actions of others changed my life at the school district. I still did the same job, I was still the same person, but I was getting more confused by what was happening around me. I couldn't see what they were doing to me until it was too late.

There's no appeal for Tribunal decisions. It's a rotten system and it has to be changed. No Administrative Tribunal, be it the Human Rights Tribunal or the Labour Relations Board, should be accorded that kind of deference.

And I know how Judicial Review works. The odds of winning are indeed remote. But I have to try. If I fail there's always the Court of Appeal, and then the Supreme Court of Canada. Human Rights should never slide back to the dark ages.

And Siggy, I like your approach. I also don't see a good honest challenge as completely futile. Good words.

Change happens when someone decides to do something. Change doesn't happen if you do nothing.

All the top Managers I complained to, and ignored me, are no longer working at the school district. Some 'retired' and some moved on.

Tomorrow afternoon - posts about secret Lead Hand positions, a secret posting, systemic discrimination evidence, interesting testimony, etc.
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atuuschaaw
Post Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:37 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 781
Location: an ahwangan
Prototype! I wanted to say welcome because I don't think we've met. My attendance skills need a rework but it would probably take a lobotomy to undo what I've taken years to build. Wink

It's good to see anybody who wants to fan the flames of justice! Good luck with each step, and please keep us informed to the situation. I anxiously await your win.

Quote:
Pasz, thanks for your thoughtful response. But, unfortunately, if everyone thought the way you write in your article nothing in this world would ever change. Most people would 'let it go' and things would stay the same. And then the next woman coming into the same situation would suffer the same results. No way.


I don't mean to speak for WP, because she definitely can convey ideas much better than I, but I believe she was just trying to provide insightful information. I know WP has a vast repository of first hand information on how the workplace structure works against us all. I think each of us is aware of the dangers and pitfalls on the path up the hill of justice...and it's safe to say all of us support you each step of the way. Cool

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prototype
Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:40 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
Thanks -

atuushaaw for the comments. And your support is very welcome, as is your friendly ear.

And Pasz, I hope I wasn't too abrupt with what I said in my reply to you. I've been totally absorbed in this case of mine these last three years, and I can see it stretching out for even more years than that. I really need positive vibes. I already know about all the negatives, having done extensive reading on what others have gone through in similar situations, not to mention how depressing this has all been for me. It won't be a fun ride, but I can honestly say that I've never been more prepared for anything else in my life as I've been in preparing to stick this challenge out.

Now,

A few words on the Tribunal hearings -

You're in a conference room on the 12th floor of the BC Human Rights Tribunal offices on Robson Street in Vancouver. There are several of those types of conference rooms at the BCHRT.

The hearings mostly consisted of just the Tribunal Member, myself, the two lawyers, with CUPE 561 President D. Ginter representing CUPE 561 and SD43 HR Manager D. Krahn representing SD43 in an otherwise empty room.

The person adjudicating the hearings is called the Tribunal Member. She's like a judge. The Member hearing my case was Tonie Beharrell. She sat at the head of the conference table.

The complainant (myself) sat on one side of the table, close to the Tribunal Member.

The union sat on the same side of the table as me. Dave Ginter sat to my left and CUPE 561 lawyer Brandon Quinn sat to his left.

On the other side of the table sat D. Krahn and SD43 lawyer Adriana Wills sat to his left. Adriana Wills was directly opposite me at the table.

Everyone who testifies has to sit at the far end of the table, directly opposite the Tribunal Member.

This was the scenario until the case against the union was dismissed.

There are chairs for spectators lined up against the huge 12th floor windows in the room but, despite the fact that Tribunal hearings are open to the public, all the chairs sat empty for most of the hearings.

On at least 2 days another prospective complainant (unrelated to my case) came to check out the hearings to prepare for his own case. One day a student came by, briefly, for her studies. On another day one of the HR Manager witnesses seemed to have had 2 friends with her. They sat in the spectator chairs. Other than that I can't remember any other time when there were spectators, except for one brief lurker who didn't stick around long.

No reporters or journalists came to view the hearings.

Apparently most of the articles that you read in newspapers about how somebody won at the Tribunal was only reported directly from the decisions, not from any reporters actually having attended any Tribunal hearings.

The hearings were neither videotaped nor recorded.

Just about everyone took notes by hand, including me.

The lawyer for the union took notes on his laptop computer. Too bad I didn't know that was allowed or I would have saved $ to get my own laptop to use.

The only exception to this was D. Ginter. I don't remember him taking any notes.

Sometimes the Tribunal Member made a lot of notes, but other times she didn't. That might explain why she got a lot wrong in her decisions.

Tribunal Member Tonie Beharrell is a lawyer.

Adriana Wills has worked as counsel for the school district since at least 1997. I've seen her name on school district arbitrations dating back at least that far.

Darrell Krahn has also dealt with arbitrations for the school district since at least 1997. I saw his name with Adriana Wills on one arbitration from that year.

Adriana Wills has been at the Tribunal a few times, representing employers' interests.


Today I've posted on the BLOG the following (so far) -

- Systemic Discrimination at SD43
- Complaint and Result
- Casual Seniority Confusion
- Secret Painter Posting at the school district
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prototype
Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:07 am

Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 128
Location: Canada
Posted some more items on the BLOG


- Secret Lead Hand Painter

- Union President can still collect seniority but I can't?

& some others
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wm pasz
Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:55 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Toronto
No offense taken prototype. My hide's a tough as anybody's. Twisted Evil

I guess what I'm trying to do is encourage people who are contemplating doing battle in the courts to be strategic. If the chances of winning are virtually nil, what's to be gained and what can potentially be lost (loses generate even more case law that can be used against other complainants)? Is there a more effective strategy?

I know that Bonnie Robichaud accomplished a lot by pursuing her issues, but 20 years later the problem persists. It seems that we need more than court decisions and employer-administered human rights programs to stop it. I think a major problem is that people who do harassment don't perceive their actions as harassing or hurtful and that so much about domineering and aggressive behaviour resembles practices that are encouraged and rewarded in the workplace that nobody really understands what's at the root of the problem.

The courts are one strategy but I'm not sure that there there aren't others.

At this point, I'm not sure what your objective is - what you're planning on arguing in the JR or what you're looking for as a remedy. It would be helpful if you could fill us in on that. You've posted a lot of information on your blog about your collective agreement and your legal battle with your union and employer but it's not clear what you're seeking to accomplish. I don't mean this in a critical way btw - if you want to draw attention to your issues, you should assume that people who find their way to your blog know nothing about your case or what you're doing and need a short synopsis that gets their attention before they'll read the longer more detailed materials.

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