Human Rights Damage Awards


Note: Yukon legislation allows for an award of punitive damages without a stated cap. Costs are also allowed to be made to the successful complainant. No such sums have been awarded to date. The NWT statute provides the Tribunal authority to order punitive damages up to a maximum of $10,000. Both jurisdictions allow for a costs order against the complainant where the claim has been found to be frivolous. No such orders have been made to date. Nunavut cases will be added when decisions are made.

Case  Year Summary  Award 
Baczkowski v Suffesick, Brown & Sign Post Corner Inc. 2000 Female complainant had advised a co-worker of her sexual preference for female company. She was then subjected to frequent verbal harassment, directly and indirectly. She was fired following her report of these events to the R.C.M.P. Compensatory damages were awarded of $2,000, in addition to a sum for lost earnings. This latter amount is not specified in the decision but the principle of this damage award was set out as restitution. It was found that the termination decision was "in part" related to her report to the police. Note: the accepted rule of law is that a decision which is "influenced" by a human rights violation is sufficient to create liability.
Lacosse and Dyck v. Childhood Discoveries Preschool, Board File No. 2012-03 2012 Ongoing explicit sexual harassment An award of $5,000 for damages for injured feelings was made.
B.S. & M.A. v Quenneville 2013 Two complaints had been brought by two young women, aged 17 and 15. They both worked at a motor inn/restaurant. The claim against the employer had been settled independently, the details of which were not disclosed in the decision. The action continued against the manager/cook, who did not attend the hearing. The complaints were based on physical harassment, including grabbing the buttocks of each young woman. There was also verbal harassment including false allegations with respect to B.S.' sexual activity with a co-worker. They each left their employment due to these events. Awards were made of $5,000 to each complainant. A lost income award was made to each of one month's income, this sum representing the time from leaving their employment to the date the business closed. These amounts were $1,680 and $840.
Hureau v Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication  2014 A woman was subjected to "not physically aggressive" conduct over a two week period was found to be at the "most mild end of the spectrum". The Tribunal ordered no compensation, an order which was replaced on review by an award of $5,000.
 Budge and Yukon HRC v Talbot Arm Hotel & Elkland  2018  The male complainant was subject to frequent incidents of "pant pulling" which were of a sexual nature, committed by the male respondent. An award of $5,000 for damages was made. Relevant factors included were (1) the proven incidents were less than those alleged, (2) the victim continued working for months after the incidents and (3) when he decided to quit after the last event, he had provided working notice of five months. The fact that the victim had been sexually abused as a child was also considered. Punitive damages were requested and denied.
Savage v 984239 NWT Ltd. 2008 A young apprentice mechanic in a vulnerable position, harassed by her supervisors, subjected to a physical assault, crude sexual remarks, pornography and threats of physical harm. Damage awards in human rights cases have been traditionally been set in the range of $2,000 to $3,000, but here the sum awarded was$15,000. Punitive damages were also awarded of $2,500 and $5,000 against the personal respondents
Sherman v Mbotloxo Investments (Boston Pizza) 2008 Complainant was subjected to sexual harassment and was harassed due to her disability, a chronic back condition. Staff members played sexually explicit music, made suggestive sexual remarks and on one occasion, used dough to make penises. This type of abusive conduct continued for 18 months, despite complaints made by the victim. Management took no steps to cause the conduct to cease. An award was made for $1,000 for injured feelings, and $2,500 for punitive damages.