A review of complaints has been ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal for a Department of Environment workplace in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The conditions of the workplace were so bad that a bulletproof vest was being taken to work by a manager because she feared being shot by another employee according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Justice Mary Gleason wrote, “The Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board did not address the issue of whether the applicant was motivated by a genuine fear. It was precisely its role to consider whether the applicant had a genuine fear for her safety.”
The manager at the office was Angela Walker, and she was fired for the harassment of a male employee at the office in 2015. An appeal by Walker was dismissed by the Employee Board in 2019. Walker said that she “protected the environment and made it safer for everyone” at the office and felt like “nothing” when the dismissal occurred.
The Board wrote, “Every witness who testified spoke to a poisoned atmosphere at the Coastal District team and the Nanaimo office.” One of the office employees mentioned that the behaviour by management was “akin to a form of water torture.”
During the Board hearings, Walker was called “highly emotional.” Walker said that she “carried a map showing the route to the hospital” while wearing her bulletproof vest because one of the employees scared her so much.
According to Walker, the male employee said that she “should be burned at the stake” and would call her names like “the devil,” “Miss Piggy” and a “f—king bitch.” Other employees at the office said that they never heard this language being used by the man.
The Board’s reason for Walker’s firing was an “ongoing pattern of behaviour” towards the man. Some of the things she did to the man included revoking his security pass, making him go to Quebec for a management seminar and keeping an eye on his Access to Information records.
The board described the man, Ken Russell, as “highly credible” and “a very sympathetic witness.” In fact, Russell was so highly thought of by fellow employees that he was given a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award.
The Board wrote, “The harassment allegations for which she was disciplined taken individually are very minor, but taken as a package, their impact on Mr. Russell was in my opinion akin to a form of water torture.”
“Each minor incident ate away at Mr. Russell and further alienated him from his coworkers and his team.”
According to the board, Russell was seen searching through ceiling tiles to see if security cameras had been placed there by his manager.
“This was a case of an ongoing pattern of behaviour demonstrated by a manager against one of her employees,” said the Board.