Home Sexual Harassment OLRB denies request to dismiss sexual harassment, retribution complaint from former cannabis store worker without hearing

OLRB denies request to dismiss sexual harassment, retribution complaint from former cannabis store worker without hearing

by HR Law Canada

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has denied a request to dismiss an application without a hearing from a former cannabis store worker who alleged she was subjected to sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct.

The application asserts that the worker, TL, faced reprisals from JH and SM after she made accusations against JH.

In her application, TL contended that following her email to JH on Sept. 22, 2022, which signaled her intention to seek legal action for the alleged misconduct, JH initiated litigation against her.

TL argued that this, along with her subsequent termination from Grand Cannabis, constituted a reprisal. In addition, she accused JH of attempting to cancel her health benefits and withholding her pay in January 2023, further alleging these actions as retaliatory.

The board had previously asked TL to elaborate on her claims, specifically how her allegations complied with or enforced the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and to demonstrate a link between her actions under the Act and the alleged reprisals. In her follow-up submission, TL cited her request for an investigation into workplace harassment as required by the Act, which she believes led to the reprisal actions against her.

The Board’s decision cited established precedents, including the case of The Corporation of the City of Sarnia, which emphasized a low burden of proof on the applicant to establish a prima facie case in reprisal claims under the Act. Consequently, the Board found that Longarini had provided enough factual allegations to proceed with a hearing under section 50 of the Act, which deals with protection against reprisals for enforcing the Act.

The defendant’s counterargument of delay was also dismissed by the Board. They contended that the time elapsed between TL’s initial email and the application filing was excessive. However, the Board specified that the assessment of timeliness should start when the applicant becomes aware of the alleged reprisals, not the original incident of harassment. As the reprisals in question occurred in May 2023, the Board considered the application timely.

The Board’s decision does not predetermine the outcome of the hearing but ensures that TL’s claims will be examined in a formal proceeding. The Registrar will set a date for the hearing or consultation in this matter.

For more information, see Tiffany Longarini v Jacobus (Jack) Huitema, 2023 CanLII 102892 (ON LRB)

You may also like

About Us

HR Law Canada is dedicated to covering labour and employment news for lawyers, HR professionals and employers. Published by North Wall Media.