|barbara findlay Q.C.||
This site, though American, has many useful workplace resources for trans people:
An Ontario transsexual woman won $22,000 in addition to back wages, for harassment she received from her employer while she was transitioning. She worked in the packing company as a shrink wrapper. Her coworkers treated her very disrespectfully; management did nothing.
The employer refused to let her use the women's washroom till she "proved" she was a woman; and wouldn't change her shift so she could avaoid harasssment in the men's changing room. Ultimately the manager fired her.
Vanderputten v Seydaco Packaging Corp  OHRTD No 1946
Lombardi's life at Midas Auto Services Experts was hell for Paul Lombardi, a gay man employed as a Service Advisor, after he was transferred to the Oshawa store in July 2008. He was taunted and harassed, including through text messages. Finally he blew up. Lombardi was fired on October 31, 2009, allegedly because he had got into a physical fight with a technician on the job. He filed a human rights complaint.
The Tribunal found that the conduct in the workplace included:
- harassment on the grounds of disability and sex, largely through text messages and remarks
- that the harassment and ongoing depression that resulted were partly responsible for the applicant’s involvement in the fight that led to his termination
The Tribunal held that the employer knew of the harassment, but had done nothing to deal with the situation.
The Tribunal awarded Lombardi $20,000 in general damages for pain and suffering, AND compensation for his salary, benefits and vacation pay from October 31, 2009, to August 31, 2010.
The lesson for employees: you should tell your supervisor if you are being harassed. The employer has a duty to investigate the situation and deal with the harasser (and NOT by transferring or demoting you out of the workplace!)
The lesson for employers: harassment between co-workers must be addressed immediately. There must be a zero tolerance policy. And if the employer finds out that one employee is harassing another, the employer must deal with the harasser, not transfer the harassee - otherwise, the harassee is being made to pay for the harassment.
(Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Decision: Lombardi v Walton Enterprises (c.o.b. Midas Auto Services Experts)
In a BC Human Rights Tribunal case, Guiget v NRI  B.C.H.R.T.D. No. 191, the employer requested that the tribunal dismiss the case because it could not succeed.The complainant, Ms Guiget, said that her coworkers called her "fucking dyke", and though she complained to her supervisor several times, nothing was done.
The tribunal refused to dismiss the complaint, which will now go to a hearing.
Employers ARE responsible for the conduct of their staff, and have a positive duty to maintain a harassment free environment. If you are being harassed at work, do the following
- keep a daily log of everything that happens, and your response. Be detailed; you may need this years later
- tell your supervisor or HR
- send your supervisor or HR an email "confirming the conversation" - this is so they cannot later deny that you told them about the problem. In the email, include what you said and what they said.