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Vancouver group challenges SCOC over workplace harassment ruling

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s highest court will listen to a local advocacy group today, which is urging them to change how we interpret workplace harassment.

West Coast LEAF┬ásays BC’s Human Rights Code current view on the issue is grossly outdated.

The BC Court of Appeal originally ruled to limit workplace harassment to only those situations where the harasser is in a supervisor role.

But Raji Manjat from West Coast LEAF believes that decision turns back the clock 30 years on the fight for workplace equality.

“Co-workers, customers, other people who happen to be there for other purposes that are not necessarily your supervisors. What the (BC) Court of Appeals decision did in this case is really turn back the clock on human rights law.”

The case, Schrenk versus the BC Human Rights Tribunal deals with how BC’s Human Rights Code is interpreted and applied.

As it stands, only bosses and managers can create an environment that can contain sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.

“It’s really kind of understanding what modern workplaces are like and how these can be very complex enivironments in which harassment and discrimination do not only come from the top down.”

The group argues that human rights law must recognize and remedy sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination as expressions of power that don’t necessarily fall neatly onto workplace hierarchies.