Four policewomen to sue TPS for harassment: Lawyer

Sam Pazzano Courts Bureau, Toronto Sun

Publishing date: November 30, 2018

Four female police officers — including two who currently have cases before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal — will be suing Toronto Police. The officers allege they have been the subjected to sexual harassment while on the job, including being sent possibly hundreds of images via text message.

Those images have been described as “sexually degrading, humiliating and at the very least, serious sexual harassment.” says lawyer Howard Levitt, who represents the women.

Levitt says the women complained to the force and allegedly faced further retaliation.

One woman was docked eight hours’ pay for not reporting her complaint in a timely fashion.

“If 1% of what’s going on in the TPS happened in any significant private sector company, heads would roll instantly,” says Levitt.

“I understand everyone in senior positions in the police know about it, and have done absolutely nothing to protect them.

“It’s astonishing that in this organization that’s supposed to be protecting women, inviting women to come forward to lay charges of sexual assault, they have the worst miscreants of all.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy and irony.”

The lawsuit won’t be filed until early 2019, he added.

He says a lawsuit makes financial sense.

“The police force is capable of putting in so many witnesses, that these two complainants (with current Human Rights complaints) would be bankrupted well before they ever got to a final decision.” says Levitt.

“So, we’re going to deal with it through avenues that are not cost prohibitive.”

Meaghan Gray of Toronto Police said the service takes harassment and discrimination very seriously.

“Over the last several years steps have been taken to provide members with better awareness and supervisors with better training to appropriately deal with these types of issues,” she said.

“There is always room for improvement and the Chief and Command are fully committed to addressing any violations of the Human Rights Code. We cannot speculate on a lawsuit that has yet to be filed.”

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said the “allegations are untested” and everyone is entitled to “due process, a fair hearing of these allegations.”