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Town of Marystown employee speaks out about harassment by supervisor

['Letter to the editor']
['Letter to the editor']

Dear Editor, I am writing today because I feel that sometimes in life there is a moral and ethical obligation to speak up.

I work in an administrative support position for the Town of Marystown and in 2016 I spoke up against harassment and bullying in my workplace by filing a harassment complaint under the Town’s Harassment Policy.  The harassment complaint was against a person who was in a temporary supervisory position and had been harassing me for some time.  My stress and anxiety from this situation had reached a level that caused me to feel physically sick. Support of family and close friends helped me through that terrible time.

Council and management were made aware of the harassment and bullying that had been ongoing in the office but it had continued nevertheless. This type of behaviour is never right and should never be condoned or accepted by anyone. We teach our children to stand up against bullying and we all should do the same.

I sought medical advice in dealing with the harassment and bullying, and later I sought legal advice as I felt certain that my job was in jeopardy.

A harassment committee was formed consisting of four members of council. A lengthy investigation took place by a company (Goss Gilroy) chosen by council, and in April 2016 a report, which constituted a pattern of harassment was received by the harassment committee. 

Through the efforts of my legal representative I was finally allowed to view the report, and along with my lawyer, I reviewed the 70-plus-page document, which supported my claim entirely. I requested a copy of the report but was denied. It was said that the report was to remain an internal, confidential document and had the potential to ruin a person’s reputation. What about the effect that the harassment and bullying has on the victim? 

The report contained nine recommendations, one of which stated that my harasser should never be in a supervisory position over me again without my consent. Rather than accept the recommendation, the harassment committee sought a legal opinion to allow them to change the recommendation, which in the opinion of my lawyer made a sham out of the of the harassment policy of the Town of Marystown. Why, when you have an independent finding of harassment, would you put the harassed person back under the supervision of the harasser?

I completed an ATTIP (access to information) request to receive a copy of the report and was assured by the privacy commissioner that the document is mine and I may do with it as I please. To this day I have not released this report and do not feel closure in this matter. 

Recent events of abuse and harassment have transpired that brings my harassment and the hardship I experienced back, and I feel that people of this town have the right to know that this harassment took place. We all should also take back every part of our lives because we all have the right to live and work without the threat of harassment, bullying or abuse of any kind!  


Deena Emberley-Hooper


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