A Penticton woman who says she faced years of harassment and gender-based discrimination while employed at a local software systems company has been awarded $15,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
In her tribunal case, Carol Loiselle detailed the numerous instances of harassment and discrimination she faced while employed at Windward Software Inc. from 2009 to 2017.
In 2018, she filed a complaint against the company after her employment was terminated.
The tribunal concluded on June 16, 2021 that Loiselle was discriminated against based on her sex and/or marital status in six total incidents.
The incidents include when an unnamed employee “hit her buttocks with keys, put her in a headlock and hit her on the forehead,” as well as having her hand slapped and being given an inappropriate love questionnaire by a manager.
While Loiselle submitted that the allegations were not “full blown” sexual harassment, the tribunal found that she still experienced unwanted physical contact on five occasions.
Other than gender and the power imbalance between Loiselle and her managers, Loiselle did not submit that there were any other factors such as age that made her more vulnerable.
There was no significant age difference between Loiselle and the three men involved. She was in and around her 50’s when these events occurred.
Based on these factors, the tribunal made the decision that the company must pay Loiselle $15,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings, and self‐respect.
The company has also been ordered to ensure that similar events do not happen again.