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Sexual harassment complaint involving make-up artist, TV news anchor in B.C. proceeding

by HR Law Canada

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has rejected a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment complaint lodged against a well-known television news anchor by his makeup artist.

The artist, D.K., alleges that the anchor, C.G., harassed her while they were both employed at Global BC, a television station operated by Shaw Media, now owned by Corus Entertainment.

In a detailed ruling, the Tribunal decided against the dismissal of the complaints for being untimely and due to procedural delays. The Tribunal clarified that it does not have the authority to override the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s decisions regarding the timeliness of complaints.

“The Tribunal inquires into complaints the Commission refers to it. It is not an appellate body and cannot review or overrule the Commission’s decisions,” the ruling stated.

Corus argued for dismissal, suggesting that since they were employed by Shaw, and not Corus at the time of the incidents, the case against Corus should not proceed. However, the Tribunal noted that Corus, having acquired Shaw, could potentially bear responsibility for its liabilities. The Tribunal will allow arguments regarding this point at a later hearing.

Additionally, the motion to dismiss the complaint based on the argument that D.K. had not exhausted all internal remedies was also denied.

“It is not plain and obvious that these complaints should be dismissed, even if the Respondents are right and (D.K.) did not raise the human rights allegations at her grievance proceedings,” the Tribunal observed.

Regarding the claim for income loss, which the respondents sought to dismiss citing issue estoppel and abuse of process, the Tribunal stated this too would be decided at the hearing, as the grievance proceedings reportedly did not address the harassment allegations comprehensively.

The Tribunal has ordered the production of documents relevant to the case, including D.K.’s complete personnel file from Corus, to be disclosed if the company does not object. This decision allows both parties to prepare for a comprehensive examination of the allegations and defenses.

For more information see Koke v. Corus Entertainment Inc. and Chris Gailus, 2024 CHRT 15 (CanLII).

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