Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rights cases show plethora of abuses

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SHE thought she was going to get a promotion, but her married boss had other plans.

That was one of the 366 files opened by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission in 2011, its recently released annual report states.

In this case, the woman -- no details are given to identify her or her boss -- had agreed to meet with the man on several occasions outside the workplace to talk about her career. But when he called her to a hotel suite, she soon learned his concern for her had more to do with sex than work.

She removed herself from his touching and sexual remarks, then quit her job and told his wife what had happened.

She also went to the commission, but her complaint was resolved before it hit the formal complaint stage.

The woman was paid $5,000 in lost wages and counselling costs and received an apology. The boss also agreed to bring in a harassment-free policy in his workplace.

A further 83 complaints were settled through mediation, the report says.

That includes the case of a Muslim woman who complained she was called a "terrorist" at her workplace and accused of taking sick days because of her religion.

Through mediation, she was paid $3,000 in damages. Cases not settled through mediation were investigated by an eight-person team. In 2011, investigators were assigned 147 formal complaints, with 136 going before the commission. The average length of an investigation was 8.2 months.

Of the complaints that were closed in 2011, 128 were dismissed by the board as having either insufficient evidence or the complaint was found to be frivolous or vexatious.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2012 A13

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