Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, says B.C. Court of appeal

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

VANCOUVER - The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled that sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and can be used to prove a human rights case.

The court has issued a ruling in a case involving a tenant who launched a human rights complaint because her landlord had verbally and physically sexually harassed her.

A lower court rejected the human rights complaint because the tenant, Noemi MacGarvie, didn't prove the harassment amounted to discrimination based on her gender.

But a three-judge Appeal Court panel has ruled that sexual harassment is inherently a form of discrimination, pointing to a number of other cases that have reached the same conclusion.

The judgment says female tenants have the same rights to be free of sexual harassment as female workers, and the court says it was reasonable in this case to conclude MacGarvie was harassed because she is a woman.

The Appeal Court has reinstated a $10,000 penalty originally issued against the landlord, John Friedmann, by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.