Home Featured Alberta Human Rights Tribunal dismisses security guard’s gender bias claim against Securitas Canada

Alberta Human Rights Tribunal dismisses security guard’s gender bias claim against Securitas Canada

by HR Law Canada

The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal has upheld a decision to dismiss a human rights complaint by a former part-time security guard at Securitas Canada Limited.

The guard, LH, had sought a review of the Alberta Human Rights Commission Director’s initial decision to dismiss her complaint of gender discrimination in the workplace.

In April 2019, LH reported sexual harassment by her supervisor while working at the Telus Toll building in downtown Edmonton. Securitas Canada Limited responded by giving her time off and launching an investigation into the allegations.

Both LH and her supervisor were removed from the Telus Toll during the investigation. Upon her return, LH was not reinstated at her preferred workplace, the Telus Toll, and was offered irregular shifts instead of a full-time position. Her employment was terminated on Nov. 2, 2020, due to the lack of a required security license.

LH filed a complaint on Dec. 21, 2020, alleging discrimination by Securitas. However, the company denied the allegations and contended that the complaint should be dismissed as it was filed outside the statutory one-year limitation period as per section 20(2)(b) of the Alberta Human Rights Act.

The Director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission initially dismissed the complaint, citing its filing outside the one-year limitation period. LH challenged this decision, arguing that there should not be a time limit on sexual harassment complaints.

Upon review, the Tribunal acknowledged the unusual circumstances, including a 75-day suspension of limitation periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This suspension meant that parts of LH’s complaint fell within the one-year limitation period. However, the Tribunal concluded that there was insufficient evidence to link the alleged adverse treatment to Halverson’s gender.

The decision to not return her to the Telus Toll site was based on safety reasons and applied to both her and her supervisor. Additionally, the Tribunal noted that Securitas did not guarantee permanent shifts or worksites to their security guards, including LH.

“Also, the complainant admitted that her employment was terminated because she did not renew her security licence, which was a condition for her employment,” the Tribunal said. “She stated clearly in the Complaint that ‘I was terminated for not having a licence.'”

Ultimately, the Tribunal upheld the Director’s decision to dismiss the complaint, finding no reasonable link between the adverse treatment and LH’s gender. The Tribunal emphasized the importance of substantiating claims with facts that demonstrate a connection between the adverse treatment and a protected ground under the Act.

For more information, see Halverson v Securitas Canada Limited, 2023 AHRC 105 (CanLII)

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