NK v. Botuik, 2020 HRTO 345

The HRLSC represented NK in her human rights application against her former supervisor. Shortly after she was hired in a residence for adults, the respondent began sexually harassing her on a regular basis. The incidents escalated to forced sexual activity on a number of occasions. The respondent threatened to fire the applicant or cut her hours if she stopped seeing him.

On April 26, 2016, the applicant accepted a full-time position at a different residence, to get away from the respondent. He continued to come by her home on her off days and would show up at her new workplace. On September 3, 2016, after the applicant told the respondent she did not want to see him anymore, they had a violent altercation and he sexually assaulted her. Later in the night, the applicant was arrested for assaulting the respondent. The following day, the residence cancelled the applicant’s shifts for the foreseeable future, due to the allegations of assault the respondent made against her.

She provided a letter to her employer outlining the entire history of sexual harassment and solicitation with the respondent, as well as the sexual assault. The third party investigator found that both the applicant and respondent had acted inappropriately. On December 7, 2016, both parties were terminated for inappropriate activity in the workplace.

The applicant was unable to work in her field while the assault charges were pending. She worked as a cleaner for a year, which paid substantially less than what she earned before. On July 6, 2017 the criminal charges were withdrawn.

The Tribunal found:

  • The applicant had experienced sexual harassment and sexual solicitation. No reasonable person would have believed the respondent’s conduct was welcome behaviour. The respondent was in a position to confer or deny a benefit to the applicant and she was completely dependent on him with respect to the number of hours she would be scheduled for.
  • The respondent reprised against the applicant by initiating criminal proceedings against her, which caused the loss of her job at the residence and hindered her future job prospects.
  • These seriousness of the respondent’s conduct and the exceptional damage it caused to the applicant, who was particularly vulnerable given her history, warranted an award of general damages at the very highest end of the spectrum.

The Tribunal ordered:

  • $170,000 in general damages for injury to the applicant’s dignity, self-respect and feelings; and
  • Both pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest on the award.

To read the full decision, visit Canlii