**Note: This summarizes the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudications’ decision on remedies, damages and costs for the Hanson v Hureau Intersport case.
In response to the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication’s (“the Board”) decision on Hanson v Hureau Intersport, both Mr. H and the Complainant submitted applications regarding remedies, costs and damages. Subsequently, the Board made a decision on these issues. Section 24 of the Yukon Human Rights Act outlines the forms of remedies that the Board can order in a given case. When making this decision, the Board emphasized that once discrimination is proven, the Board has a responsibility to make sure the discrimination stops and that any conditions or circumstances that caused the discrimination are fixed.
In this case, the Board ordered Mr. H to implement a sexual harassment policy for the Corporate Respondent, which would be subject to approval by the Yukon Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”). The Board also ordered Mr. H to pay to the Complainant an amount reflecting her lost earnings. The Complainant had left her employment and the Board found that it was impossible for her to return because of the sexual harassment. Since she was able to find work three months later, the Board ordered Mr. H to pay her three months’ worth of wages.
The Board also ordered Mr. H to pay for the Complainant’s legal costs. While the Commission is charged with carriage of a complaint to adjudication, the Complainant is recognized as a separate party who is entitled to separate counsel. The Complainant was unrepresented at the hearing, but hired a lawyer for the purpose of making submissions and replies on the issues of remedy, damages and costs due to her. In this case, the Board recognized that every person has the right to seek legal counsel and as such, ordered the Respondent to compensate the Complainant for these costs.
In this case, the Board did consider whether to award damages for injury to the Complainant’s self-esteem, feelings and dignity. Ultimately, the Board decided that this was not necessary. The Board found that the “mild nature of the harassment”, the limited timeframe in which the harassing behaviour occurred and the fact that there was limited evidence proving that the Complainant had sought psychological help were some reasons not to award such damages.
* Note that a Supreme Court of Yukon decision (summarized below) overturned parts of this decision.