CBC re-victimizes female reporter despite criminal conviction for sexual harassment
By Stephen Pate – When a CBC journalist and union shop steward sexually harassed a female co-worker, the CBC management looked the other way until it was almost too late.
The sexual discrimination reached the level of criminal activity. After 3 years the CBC fired CBC journalist Gordon MacDougall from their Montreal offices.
MacDougall was convicted of criminal harassment in 2014 but the CBC is still fighting against the victim’s complaint under the union collective agreement.
This case is eerily familiar to Canadians after the revelations in the Toronto Star about CBC entertainment journalist and host Jian Ghomeshi, who faces many criminal charges related to sexual abuse of co-workers at the CBC.
Labour lawyer Janice Rubin interviewed more than 90 people in her scathing CBC workplace investigation regarding Jian-Ghomeshi on how CBC policy should have but didn’t stop Ghomeshi from sexually harassing women at the CBC.
None of the people in the Rubin Report filed human rights or union complaints because to do so would have ended their careers at the CBC. In the reported cases about Ghomeshi where the union did get notice, the CMG union rep failed to follow through.
MacDougall’s victim, known as Mme. Z., has gone through hell both during the harassment and afterward. CBC’s claim that Ghomeshi was an aberration does not fit the facts.
Christine Desjardins of LaPresse reports Mme Z’s story –
“She was startled by gifts and invitations from her CBC colleague Gordon MacDougall which Mme Z. refused.
“The man, a journalist at (CBC) Radio Canada International, was more insistent. It has become harassment. Intense and increasingly disturbing.”
“I was completely terrorized, I switched into deep depression, ” said Mrs. Z yesterday in a Quebec Court during of the pleadings on the penalty to be imposed on Mr. MacDougall.
The 68-year-old man pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal harassment against Mrs. Z, announcer and producer at CBC / Radio Canada International.
The harassment occurred between the autumn of 2009 and May 2012. Mr. MacDougall, who was CBC manager and Union representative, was fired in the wake of this case on May 28, 2012.
According to Mrs. Z, Mr. MacDougall followed her even in her home, left her notes, called her at home, and came from behind to surprise and say things like, ‘Ah, you’re hiding!’
“He was my Union representative. He harassed me for three years. Every day. It was 30 times per day at my desk. He followed me too. I was no longer able to work, to concentrate. In the end, it had gone to an extreme level. I was very scared”, said Mrs. Z, who never give any sign of interest to Mr. MacDougall.
“From the very beginning, when he showed an interest, I have rejected it immediately. Clearly. We had a working relationship, nothing more. “I’ve never even had a coffee with him,” she said.
Mrs. Z says attempted to dissuade Mr. MacDougall to do so. She told him shouting “to stop”, and she sent him a registered letter, in 2010, requiring him to stop, otherwise she would call the police. In 2011, Mr. MacDougall had been warned twice by her employer to stop disturbing his colleague. But that was not enough.
In the spring of 2012, Mrs. Z began to find sticky substances on her office phone. In early May, a hidden camera was installed in his office. It is on the basis of this recording that he was fired.
Mrs. Z has been off work for seven months, from June 20, 2012. “The CSST (union) recognized that it was a work accident,” argued Mrs. Z before Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer.
“I had worked hard to get where I was before his criminal act,” said Mrs. Z, with emotion. “He grabbed my confidence in others. With his criminal act, he broke my joy to work. ”
Mrs. Z has taken drugs for two years and has consulted a psychologist. She is distressed. Of Chinese origin, she says that depression is very unwelcome in her community.
“It’s suffering and shyness. In Chinese culture, all these cases of harassment, it is frowned. ”
Yesterday, Mrs. Z was accompanied by her husband.
Me Éric Sutton, representing the accused, aspires to get a discharge for his client. Counsel for the Crown, Audrey Simard, ask a conditional sentence.
The pleadings on the penalty will continue on January 14.”