MHR 523 Lecture Notes - Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Canadian Human Rights Commission
1. Is there a case of sexual harassment in this situation or is it only fun?
Sexual harassment has become an increasingly prevalent issue in human resources management. To
properly identify an individual’s behaviour as sexual harassment, a Canadian Human Rights tribunal
established three important characteristics of this act: The encounters must be unsolicited, unwelcome
by the complainant, and expressly or implicitly known by the respondent to be unwelcome, the conduct
must continue despite the complainant’s protests (or if conduct stops, the protests must have led to
negative employment consequences), and the complainants cooperation must be due to employment
related threats or promises. In the Maple Leafs Shoes Ltd. case, these precedents set out by the Human
Rights Tribunal are met. Rosetta received unsolicited and unwelcome harassment throughout her day at
work, and while she made it clear she was uncomfortable, the respondents continued to do so with
intention. The conduct continued despite Rosetta’s complaints to both coworkers and Al until she was
forced to make a decision between her job and her basic rights as an employee. This conduct is classified
as sexual harassment and can result in major penalties for Maple Leafs Shoes Ltd through compensatory
damages and bad publicity.
2. If you were Eva, what would – and what could – you do? What are the options? What is the
probability of success in each option?
In order to take action against Al, and Maple Leaf Shoes Ltd. in defence of Rosetta and fellow female
workers, Eva must first contact Rosetta and fellow female coworkers in order to gain an idea of how
many women have felt personally victimized by the company such as Rosetta. After either convincing
the group to take action, or receiving permission to do so herself; Eva can begin her campaign. The
group or Eva must then contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission and file a formal complaint
against the company for harassment and discrimination. As long as the complaint is timely, and in good
faith, it will be accepted and an investigator will be assigned to the case immediately. After the
investigator either confirms or disproves Eva’s claims, a settlement can be made; if a settlement cannot
be agreed upon between the two parties, a tribunal panel of three members will order an appropriate
settlement to be made. The company will be forced to cooperate with Eva’s complaint (if accepted) due
to very large penalty fines. Alternatively, Eva can contact authorities if the harassment is beginning to
get out of hand in the workplace and attempt to punish certain individuals for the actions separately.
3. What are Al’s responsibilities in this instance? Did he carry them out well? Why or why not?
Al’s responsibilities as a manager when confronted with any harassment case are very important; he
failed to account for these responsibilities which resulted in a lost employee and possible retaliation. Al
should’ve first fulfilled his primary obligation when faced with a complaint; conduct an inquiry into the
allegations by questioning the victim, the accused and any witnesses that may have been present. In
meetings with both Rosetta and Eva, he based his information from assumptions and past observance.
Secondly, Al should’ve kept his first meeting with Rosetta brief and comforting while arranging for a
second meeting. This would’ve allowed for Al to gather appropriate information about the incident,
consult the company’s sexual harassment policies while allowing both parties to gather their thoughts
and emotions. Lastly, Al proved to be uncooperative and defensive in his meeting with Eva; by being
disrespectful and careless about the situation he only further frustrated Eva provoking her to take
action. Al could’ve made several compromises, but instead chose to counter with denial creating a
hostile situation and relationship that could result in major consequences for him and Maple Leafs
Shoes Ltd in the future.