Blog Post #1394 – Ex-Worker Gets Compensation from Calgary Company

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2016)

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Calgary mobile phone-store $21,288 in compensation to a former sales manager, who lodged the complaint against her supervisor alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment.

Tribunal member Ricki T. Johnston, signed 2016, awarding to complaint Shelby Ann Opheim $12,000 for the wilful and reckless conduct, $7,500 for her pain and suffering and $1,788.00 for lost earnings.

Opheim by Gokul Inc. to work at the store, multiplicity, on May 4, 2011 at the age of 18. She often worked alone in the store with her boss, Gagan Gill, two or three days each week.

That Gill had begun making sexually comments to her within the first two weeks of her employment. The comments intensified and soon developed into unwanted touching. Opheim resigned on June 25, 2011, after asked her to walk up and down the street in front of the store in a skirt and high heels with flyers for a sale – a request that made her feel “cheap” and unsafe.

“There considerable challenges with regard to determining the facts in this matter,” Johnston writes in the decision. “Credibility factor, as the complainant and the respondents disagreed as to the occurrence of many of the events at issue.”

But Johnston determined that Opheim had offered “clear and specific evidence” that was consistent allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct in her complaint. In contrast, Johnston of Gill and Gillco. Inc. to be lacking in substance. Bondage did not even challenge the accusations in cross-examination allegations.

The decision notes that Opheim began to suffer depression and anxiety following Gill’s alleged behaviour “and will be required to take anti-depressants for the rest of her life, at a cost of about $135.00 per month.”

But she did not offer any evidence that these conditions had affected her ability to work full-time. Johnston concludes that Gill “committed a discriminatory practice in sexually harassing the complainant.”

My opinion

The Ontario government created new sections in the Occupational health and Safety Act (OHSA) dealing with violence and harassment in the workplace. It was deemed important enough to be created.

I have been following Canadian workplace health and safety and many changes to provincial regulations tend to occur only after repeated harassment issues.

It would sure be a breath of fresh air to have provinces deal with workplace incidents they way we deal with crime in general. The problem is, most provinces do not think this sort of behaviour is criminal in nature.

Let us take a closer look and challenge the norms.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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