Canadian Human Rights Commission: Court Case

Surname: 4


Complainant: Shelby Anne Opheim
Defendant: Gagan Gill
Intervener: Canadian Human Rights Commission
The case is a decision regarding a court case in which the complainant forwarded two complaints one that was dated July 28th 2011 and the other that was dated 16 June 2012. The complainant alleged that she was discriminated by her employer on grounds of age and sex at the workplace and filed for sexual harassment charges. She alleges that the defendant made a series of unwarranted sexual advances at work and used sexual language while addressing her. The case and tribunal to hear the case was constituted on 29th April 2014 to hear the case and deliberate on the aspects that were forwarded by the complainant and assess the validity of the case accordingly. In accordance with Section 14 of the CHRA the facts by the complainant on being sexually harassed were substantiated and found to be true. This was in accordance with the discriminatory act and practice of the CHRA. The court also substantiated the discrimination against the complainant based on sex according to section 7 of the CHRA. However, the discrimination based on age was not substantiated since it lacked enough evidence to support the same and there was no proof that was forwarded to highlight this aspect. The defendant was therefore, liable for penalties and the facts of the case augmented the different aspects that were essential for the individual accordingly.
One of the facts is that it was difficult to establish credibility for the case since there were differences in the scope that was represented and different aspects that were identified. Each side disagreed on the evidence that was produced by the other and there was no documentary evidence that was produced to ascertain the positions of the two people in the case. The lack of witnesses to confirm or refute the evidence produced by either party also made it more difficult to make a substantive case based on the aspects that were highlighted.
It is a fact that the complainant was hired at the Mobicility Retail Store on May 2nd 2011 and she was 18years old at the time. Ms. Opheim was on most cases alone with Mr. Gill although for 2 to 3 days Mrs. Gill was also present. After two weeks on her new job, Mr. Gill started making sexual remarks and comments on Ms. Opheim and although they started mildly they would later escalate to include unwarranted sexual remarks. The sexual comments increased and by June he started making unwanted sexual requests and unwanted sexual touching. The complainant noted that Mr. Gill would on occasion slap her buttocks, grab her buttocks and attempt to grab her by the hips and pull her into his lap. Although she made it clear that this behavior had to stop, Mr. Gill continued with the sexual advances and started forcing his hand up her skirt and grabbing her breasts. The complainant noted that the behavior made it unbearable to work for Mr. Gill.
On June 25th 2011, the complainant reported for work ready for the promotional sale for that day. Everything was set and she was well-equipped and wearing clothes that would match the occasion perfectly. Mr. Gill however, ordered her to walk up and down the street in front of the Mobilicity store advertising the sale. She wore a short skirt and high-heeled shoes making it difficult to move up and down and around the Mobilicity Store. In addition, she had previously reported to the customers that she would be tasked with the role of serving them in the store once they came in. she perceived the gesture by Mr. Gill was mainly aimed at making her look cheap in front of others and it was rough since she was not equipped with the right skills to work outside the office. She explained the discomfort to Mr. Gill but he could not have any of it since he was not concerned about her well-being. She decided to go home and change to more comfortable clothes so as to withstand the harsh conditions outside and take the necessary precautions to make the best judgment accordingly. This raised problems with Mr. Gill at the end of her shift and it caused a scuffle between the two as she was told to give her datebook to Mr. Gill. Mr. Gill intended to change the number of hours recorded in the datebook to reflect the time that she had spent outside her workplace and she refused giving him the datebook. This led to her getting fired by Mr. Gill and she lost her job on 25th June 2011. The events gave an escalation of different issues and pertinent aspects that were not dealt with properly and as a result led to the complainant getting fired.
Under Section 14 of the CHRA it sets out discriminatory practice for one to harass an individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination. Under section 3 it is prohibited for one to discriminate another worker on grounds of age or Sex. However, in order for one to prove Prima Facie, the complainant has to show that he or she was sexually harassed in matters related to her employment.
In relation to prima facie as applied to this case, it was clear that the respondent did not have substantive proof to offer in defense of the rebuttal that was placed before him. The complainant gave a clear and concise argument highlighting the dates when sexual requests and advances were made at the workplace. She gave an indication of the different behaviors by Mr. Gill and how badly she was treated as a result of refuting the sexual advances that were forwarded to her. Mr. Gill used his position of authority negligently and wrongly in this case. Mr. Gill did not have any subastantive proof to support his sentiments and did not refute all the claims in their entirety. Although the respondent knew that his wife would act as a good witness he never called for her as a witness in the case. The facts of the case therefore, in this case pointed to the fact that Mr. Gill was guilty of sexual harassment charges.
The court ordered that:
· The respondent should pay to the complainant 1788 dollars as compensation for lost wages
· The respondents shall pay 7500 dollars as compensation for pain and suffering
· The respondent to pay 12,000 dollars as compensation for willful and reckless conduct
The decision by the court was befitting the circumstances and the behavior by Mr. Gill towards the complainant in the case. Discrimination on grounds of age was not substantively proven and therefore should not have been used in this case.

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