Esthetician and recent immigrant who was allegedly sexually assaulted by her boss awarded $180,000 by human rights tribunal

A woman receiving a facial from an esthetician. Photo: Helgy/Canva

A recent immigrant to Canada from Iran has been awarded $180,000 by a human rights tribunal after she made allegations of substantial mistreatment by her employer, including sexual assault, rape and sexual harassment.

The case centered around a distressing sequence of events involving a female employee and her employer, identified only as the sole proprietor of Ray Daniel Salon & Spa.

The application detailed severe allegations, all occurring within a brief employment period from April 3, 2019, to May 31, 2019. The woman was employed as an esthetician. Her responsibilities included a range of esthetic services such as nail manicuring, waxing and threading, blow drying, coloring and cutting hair, in addition to cleaning and organizing tasks within the salon.

The employee claimed that her employer exploited her precarious immigration status and paid her significantly below the minimum wage. Furthermore, when she resisted his advances and requested fair compensation, the employer allegedly threatened her with deportation and subsequently engaged in acts of reprisal, including filing a lawsuit against her for bringing forward a “false claim” to the Tribunal and attempting to intimidate a witness supporting her case.

In that lawsuit, he sought $35,000 in damages in small claim courts alleging damages to his personal and business reputation. “It is clear that the Small Claims Court claim was a response to the application,” the Tribunal said.

The Tribunal’s hearing, which featured testimony from the applicant, her friends, and her treating psychologist, underscored the severity of the alleged misconduct and the impact on the applicant’s well-being.

In its conclusion, the Tribunal found the employer’s actions to be a clear violation of the applicant’s rights under the Human Rights Code, particularly highlighting the role of power dynamics in the workplace and the vulnerability of employees in precarious positions.

The worker sought a total of $250,000, comprising of $210,000 for sexual solicitation and sexual harassment; $30,000 for reprisal; and $10,000 for citizenship-based discrimination.

The Tribunal settled on a figure of $180,000. Additionally, the ruling mandated human rights training for the managerial staff of Ray Daniel Salon & Spa and required the posting of the decision within the workplace to prevent future violations.

For more information, see L.N. v. Ray Daniel Salon & Spa, 2024 HRTO 179 (CanLII).

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