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Police constable files suit in employee rights case

Some 13 employees of an out-of-province police service are filing a suit against their employer, according to national news. Many Ontario residents understandably think of the police as being beyond reproach in terms of internal employee rights standards, but sadly this is not the case. As in many industries throughout the country, workplace harassment is a pervasive issue. Bringing it to light through litigation may be a good way to help stem negative practices and push businesses toward higher standards. 

A police constable in Calgary attempted to resign after a 14-year career she said was fraught with bullying and sexual harassment, but her request was denied by the chief of police. While the chief purported to appreciate her "courage" in identifying the issues she has dealt with, he requested that she stay on until time had passed. This prompted the constable to seek legal representation. 

She and 12 of her co-workers are now filing lawsuits against the police force in response to this treatment, which they say was ignored by their own union. The Calgary Police Association reportedly said it refused to take on "blue-on-blue" grievances. As a result, the constable has said, she and her co-workers were left feeling helpless and with no higher authority to appeal to for help. 

Obviously this sort of behaviour, whether here in Ontario or elsewhere in the country, is reprehensible and has no place in a workplace dedicated to employee rights. However, the truth is these issues will continue to arise even in the face of legislation designed to prevent it. Securing legal support if one feels harassed or discriminated against in the workplace is sometimes the best first step to take in solving the issue. 

Source: Global News, "13 Calgary police employees file complaints alleging "abusive and harassing" workplace conduct", Melissa Gilligan, Feb. 21, 2017

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