Human Rights Office

Queen's University
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Human Rights Office
Human Rights Office

Emslie v. Doholoco Holdings Ltd. O/A The UPS Store #425, 2014 MHRBAD 6

Summary:

Traci Emsile was an employee at The UPS Store in Winkler, Manitoba. The UPS Store was owned by Doholoco Holdings Ltd. Douglas Homick was the President and sole director of the UPS Store in Winkler, Manitoba. Mr. Homick was in a position of authority over Ms. Emsile.  Ms. Emsile alleges that Mr. Homick sexually harassed her on numerous occasions while working at The UPS Store. Going beyond sexual solicitations and/or advances, Ms. Emsile states that Mr. Homick touched her several times without her consent.  In this case it was found that Mr. Homick, who was the directing mind of the respondent, Doholoco Holdings Ltd. contravened Section 19 of the Code. 

Question(s) to be Determined:

1. Did Mr. Homick, who was the directing mind of the respondent, Doholoco Holdings Ltd., contravene Section 19 (harassment) of the Code? 

Findings:

1. Did Mr. Homick, who was the directing mind of the respondent, Doholoco Holdings Ltd., contravene  Section 19 (harassment) of the Code? 

YES

Reasoning:

1. In this case, neither the respondent, Doholoco Holdings Ltd., nor the president of the respondent, Douglas Homick, appeared at the hearing. It was stated that “The evidence clearly established that Mr. Homick, who was the directing mind of the respondent and in a position of authority over the complainant, made repeated sexual solicitations or advances to the complaint. Indeed, he went beyond simple advances and actually touched the complainant, several times, without her consent” (para 62).  

Clarification was also provided around the concept of “objection” by the complainant. “A complainant in a sexual harassment case does not have to object to the acts of harassment at the time they occur. The test is whether a reasonable person would realize the conduct was unwelcome. In this case, the complainant said that she did tell the respondent that she found his conduct objectionable on a number of occasions but it did no good. She did not protest more forcefully because she was afraid she would lose her job and she needed the income” (para 63). 

Further clarification was also provided regarding the concept of “consent” and in particular, the prior giving of consent.  “The complainant did admit to two incidents in which she permitted Mr. Homick to touch her. Neither of these events would lead any reasonable person to believe that the complainant welcomed the kinds of sexual advances that Mr. Homick had made and was continuing to make” (para 64). 

Remedies:

In this case a number of remedies were ordered including: compensation for lost income, compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect, compensation for exemplary damages and a public interest order.

a. That the Respondent pay to the Complainant the following amounts:

i. $16,317.55 as compensation for lost income as a result of the contravention of the Code;

ii. $15,000.00 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect; 

iii. $5,000.00 as exemplary damages. 

b. That the president of the Respondent, Mr. Douglas Homick, attend a workshop on sexual harassment in the workplace offered by the Commission or some other party satisfactory to the Commission, and provide the Commission with evidence of its completion no later than July 14, 2015. 

c. That the Respondent deliver to each employee of the Respondent a copy of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission policy on sexual harassment to each of its employees and provide the Commission with a signed acknowledgment from each employee that he or she has received the policy, within thirty days of the date of this decision. 

d. That the Respondent develop and implement a sexual harassment policy, satisfactory to the Commission in form and content, post a copy of the policy at each workplace the Respondent operates and deliver a copy of the policy to each employee of the Respondent. no later than February 1, 2014.