As we have previously reported, employees may recover substantial damages from sexual harassment in the workplace.
In a recent decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“the Tribunal”) awarded damages to an employee who was sexually harassed in a Barrie restaurant even though the criminal investigation lead to no charges.
In Granes v. 2389193 Ontario Inc., the employee was a server at a Barrie Restaurant. She worked there for a year before there was a change in ownership.
The employee told the Tribunal that while working, Mr. Rajneesh Dutta, a new co-owner, made numerous inappropriate comments towards her. He touched and groped her in an unwanted sexual manner. He was intoxicated.
A criminal investigation was initiated but the police found that there was not enough evidence to charge Mr. Dutta.
Following the event, the employee was so distraught that she sought medical help and was not able to return to work.
Although Mr. Dutta denied that the allegations, the Tribunal found that the employee was much more credible than the Mr. Dutta.
The Tribunal awarded the employee $20,000 in general damages for injury to her dignity and self-respect and $9,440.51 for loss of wages, including tips, due to the human rights violation.
Lessons from the Case
This is another incident of workplace sexual harassment in the service industry. Employees should be aware of their rights that they can be awarded damages for sexual harassment even if charges or a conviction do not occur. Hearings at the Tribunal require a lesser standard of proof for a claim to be made out, as it was in this case.
Moreover, employees can recover any lost wages, including tips, that they could have made if they left their employment as a result of a violation of the Code.
If you would like to speak with an experienced lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm about sexual harassment or other human rights issues, please contact us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.
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