The Canadian Senate will pay nearly half a million dollars in damages to nine employees of a resigned senator who say they were subjected to harassment, including sexual harassment, on the job.
Today’s decision to award damages of $ 498,000 plus legal fees comes more than a year after a Senate investigation found a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Senator Don Meredith.
This included insulting, belittling, and insulting employees, as well as kissing, touching, and intimidation, which created what the Senate ethics investigator described as a “toxic work environment.”
But it is only this summer that a former judge of the Quebec Court of Appeals was brought in to look into possible compensation for employees after complaints about their unrecognized suffering.
The report says the Senate’s slow response is an aggravating factor
The Senate says the compensation amount announced this morning was based on the recommendations of Justice Louise Otis.
The Otis report says: “All complainants were subjected to harassment in various forms, and yet, they had the same constant: abuse of power that created a toxic work environment.”
“These acts of misconduct manifested themselves in particular in humiliation, defamation, sudden screaming and shouting attacks, nighttime phone calls to perform overtime, the requirement to work while on sick leave, threats, bullying, and intimidation.
Almost all of the complainants described their work experience as “the worst thing that ever happened to me in the workplace.”
The report says the Senate’s slowdown in handling complaints is an aggravating factor in determining what victims should be paid.
It does not specify the amount to be paid to each complainant.
Meredith, appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Senate in 2010, resigned from the upper house in 2017.
The Senate Ethics Committee had just recommended his expulsion after concluding that he had used his position to pursue a sexual relationship with a minor girl.
Meredith, the Pentecostal Secretary, has not been filed a criminal charge in connection with any of these matters.