Workplace Sexual Harassment

Compensatory Awards for Hurt Feelings – Maritime Provinces

The principles of the damage assessment are similar to the law in Ontario.

Nova Scotia

The awards in Nova Scotia are low. In a decision of 2007, the range of expected awards was from $1,000 to $5,0001. Such an award of $3,500 was made for conduct which was both verbal and physical.2 One reason for this may be that medical evidence was not routinely offered, or at least this was suggested by the Nova Scotia Board of Inquiry3. In the same case the Board ordered $3,000 in general damages and $7,000 for reprisal and a further $3,000 for reprisal against the employer due to the actions of its Board.

New Brunswick

The sum of $15,0004, an inordinately high sum in this jurisdiction, to the male complainant who was subjected to severe harassment by a male colleague5. This is likely to be set as the high end of the expected range.

An award reflective of modest touching and verbal abuse was made of $2,000. The Board noted that the employer had acted promptly to deal with the allegation6.

Prince Edward Island

An award of $50,0007 was made by the PEI Human Rights Commission in a complaint which was based on gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The complainant had lost her livelihood as her licence to practice her profession was withheld. The events of adverse treatment took place over an extended time period and her reputation was also damaged by the conduct in question8. This is certainly an award at the high end of the scale.9