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Female OPP employees take discrimination complaints to human rights tribunal

Last Updated Jan 27, 2018 at 6:16 am EDT

(Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Fed up women that work with Ontario Provincial Police are taking their concerns to our province’s Human Rights Tribunal.

Dozens of civilian employees are banding together, alleging OPP have been responsible for systemic gender-discrimination and harassment.

One of the incidents cited by The Toronto Star allegedly took place locally in June of 2017, as the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police hosted an annual gathering in Waterloo.

It was co-hosted by K-W Oktoberfest, and two women claim they were pressured to take part in a “Bavarian handshake”.

The tradition is no longer a part of our Oktoberfest events, but it involved two women shaking hands through the front flap of a man’s lederhosen.

OPP have issued a statement regarding the complaints and tribunal.

You can read it below.

A complaint has been made with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that names the OPP as one of the respondent parties.

The OPP takes great pride in the actions and valued work of all of its employees. The organization, as part of the Ontario Public Service (OPS), has zero tolerance for workplace harassment and discrimination and is strongly committed to ensuring that all employees work in a respectful, professional environment. All complaints are taken seriously, and handled confidentially.

In order to ensure the OPP’s more than 9,000 employees work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination, the OPP has a robust set of policies governing the workplace. The purpose of these policies and training is to ensure that the OPP continues to be a highly respectful and inclusive environment. It is the responsibility of each member to report, in a timely manner, any alleged violation of the Government of Ontario’s Respectful Workplace Policy that they have witnessed or experienced.

The OPP acknowledges that it must remain vigilant to prevent and address any instance of harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace. All complaints brought forward are thoroughly reviewed and investigated as required to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and dignity, which is consistent with the values of the OPP and OPS.

The OPP will abide by the decision of the Tribunal and any rulings that are made as a result of this application.