Canada: Former CBSA agent files lawsuit over agency’s handling of harassment complaint - - PressFrom - Canada

Canada Former CBSA agent files lawsuit over agency’s handling of harassment complaint

07:55  26 november  2019
07:55  26 november  2019 Source:

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A former officer for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has filed a lawsuit against the agency, claiming its response to her sexual harassment claim added insult to injury.

Jannelle Buchanan alleges she was subjected to intense and inappropriate interrogation after filing a complaint against a male co-worker.

Buchanan worked as a firearms instructor with the CBSA.

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She claims that in the spring of 2015, she was barbecuing food for staff working a Saturday overtime shift when she was inappropriately approached by a male employee.

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"This individual came up behind me, grabbed my hips, thrusted himself into me and made the comment if he was single I could cook for him anytime," she told Global News.

She says she witnessed the same employee refusing to fail candidates taking tests if they were young, attractive women, and approaching women, sometimes offering to hold a rag under their noses.

"He would say, 'Does this smell like chloroform to you?'" Buchanan said.

"I witnessed him do that several times. He never did that to me. I witnessed him call himself the 'ether bunny.'"

The following year Buchanan, along with several others, filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment and bullying against the employee. He was fired in 2017.

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Buchanan has now filed a civil suit against CBSA and two other employees. The suit claims that during an investigation that followed the firing of the employee, Buchanan was degraded and humiliated by a female employee who frisked her.

"As she got to my groin area she actually started laughing and said, 'I haven't done this for a really long time,' which was appalling," said Buchanan.

"So I'm there getting frisked and groped trying not to cry."

Buchanan alleges that she was questioned for more than three hours about her personal life.

"Eighty per cent of my interview was sexual in nature, basically about my off duty conduct," she said.

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"That interview was worse than any of the sexual harassment or sexual assault that I endured as an employee. That was hands down the worst thing that I have ever gone through."

Buchanan resigned from the CBSA in March 2019, but says she filed the suit because she doesn't want anyone else to go through what she did, and to counter what she sees as a chill within the organization about speaking out about harassment.

Both the CBSA and the Customs and Immigration Union declined to comment on the case.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

She reported her boss had sexually harassed her — then she was fired .
Nearly two in 10 women say they’ve been harassed at work, which often results in professional and personal consequences.After a successful interview, the man who would be overseeing her fundraising work walked her out down some stairs. As they made small talk, Wanda, whose last name we are withholding for privacy reasons, felt his hands press on her shoulders and squeeze them.

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