Female OPP civilian employees file human rights complaint

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Female OPP civilian employees file human rights complaint

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:59 am

Female OPP employees say they’re being paid far less than uniformed police doing the same work

More than 80 OPP civilian managers and specialists have filed a human rights complaint claiming they are paid less than uniform male officers for similar work.

Dozens of female Ontario Provincial Police civilian employees are alleging systemic, gender-based discrimination by the province’s largest police service, claiming they have for years been paid salaries far lower than their predominantly male, uniformed police colleagues performing the same or comparable work.

A group of more than 80 OPP civilian managers and specialists has filed a human rights complaint claiming they are paid less than uniformed male officers for similar work. They allege they have reduced access to benefits and promotions, less job security, and are provided fewer professional development and training opportunities.

In addition, the group alleges they are too often the recipients of sexist comments and humiliating behaviour, according to Janet Borowy, the lawyer presenting 84 civilian employees.

Indeed, their treatment must be viewed within the context the OPP’s “deeply masculine” and “brothers in blue” work environment, she said.

“A ‘men take care of the men’ culture prevails,” Borowy alleged of the OPP in her opening statements at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on Tuesday, inside a hearing room packed with complainants.

“We say this police culture cannot be ignored in the context of systemic discrimination,” she said.

The allegations are “firmly denied” by the OPP, said Jennifer Richards, deputy director of Ontario’s Labour Practice Group and one of the lawyers representing the OPP.

That includes the claims of gender-based harassment in the workplace raised by Borowy. While stressing that she could not say there had been no such incidents, Richards said any cases of workplace harassment were “isolated” and perpetuated by a small minority.”

“We have zero tolerance for these kinds of incidents,” she said.

Richards said no discrimination has occurred, as these employees — filling positions within human resources, finance and information technology — are compensated in line with other comparable employees within the Ontario Public Service.

In some cases, a uniform police officer may be paid more because he has specialized training and certain obligations under Ontario’s Police Services Act.

“The evidence will show (the civilian employees) were not subjected to the same hiring procedures, they did not pass the same extensive training” as police officers, said Richards.

The civilian employees involved in the human rights case perform a variety of roles, ranging from accounting and human resources work within corporate services to the maintenance of OPP property, such as its fleet of vehicles and weapons.

Some of these jobs are considered “hybrid,” meaning they can be filled by a civilian or police officer. However, the group alleges that the pay differential between civilians and officers performing equivalent or comparable work can be as high as 42 per cent.

“It makes me feel cheap,” said Lee-Anne McFarlane, a 10-year OPP employee who is a manager within the career development bureau, a role she says was previously filled by a uniform police officer at a higher salary.

McFarlane is also the president of the association representing the group, Civilian Association of Managers and Specialists (CAMS), formed in 2015 to address the fact that they were not represented by a union.

According to documents filed in support of their complaint, the group says that, unlike in Toronto, Ottawa and London, the civilian managers and specialists within the OPP are not recognized by their police force as members of their senior officers associations.

The examples of a problematic masculine culture cited by Borowy include an OPP-supported event in Waterloo last year, the annual meeting of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

During the dinner portion of the meal, a female civilian OPP employee was allegedly cajoled by her mostly male colleagues into participating in a joke being made by one of the evening’s entertainers, not realizing she was about to be asked to participate in a “German Handshake” in front of an audience.

The game involved putting her hand inside the pants, or lederhosen, of a male actor, and “vigorously shaking” the hand of another woman through the front pocket of his pants. Many in attendance took photos, said the employee, Amanda Weaver, who works as a co-ordinator of the Respectful Workplace program within the OPP.

“I was embarrassed. I knew that it wasn’t going to go over well, but I felt like I couldn’t say no,” she told the Star in an interview Tuesday.

Among the remedies the civilian employees are seeking is a declaration that the treatment of the group constitutes systemic discrimination, and an order directing that the compensation structure be applied equally to all employees.

The hearing, which is being heard by Michael Gottheil, chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, continues in April.

https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2018 ... -work.html
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Civilian OPP employees file human rights complaint

Postby Thomas » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:08 am

Civilian employees of the OPP have filed a human rights complaint, saying they're victims of gender-based discrimination and are paid unfairly for their work.

Amanda Weaver, a civilian employee with the OPP in Orillia, is just one of the more than 80 workers of the Civilian Association of Managers and Specialists that has filed the human rights complaint against province’s largest police force.

The group alleges they are paid less and receive reduced or no benefits compared to male uniform officers, who are doing the same or comparable work in human resources, finance or other business support-type roles.

"It’s about total compensation closing that gender wage gap," says Weaver. "It’s the exact same job, but the civilian manager will make anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 less."

Danielle Bisnar, one of the lawyers representing the civilian workers, says “they are the only group of employees at the OPP that doesn't have a recognized bargaining association and that has significantly impacted their compensation."


It’s a situation Weaver claims belittles her role. The group alleges they are often the target of sexist comments.

"I’ll go to a meeting with a number of colleague managers all my counterparts uniform and civilian at the table and we're all sort of on the same or similar level and yet I’ll be asked if I ordered the coffee or brought the coffee or I’ll be given a piece of paper to dial the telephone conference line."

Bisnar calls the OPP a male dominated workplace.

“These compensation practices, they don't exist in a vacuum. They are normalized and they are perpetuated within a broader culture. That includes unwelcome sexist comments about the role of women and their work within the organization."

In a statement to CTV News, the OPP said “it must remain vigilant to prevent and address any instance of harassment and or discrimination in the workplace.”

“All complaints brought forward are thoroughly reviewed and investigated as required to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and dignity, which is consistent with the values of the OPP and OPS."

The next phase of the human rights tribunal will reconvene in April in Toronto.

https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/civilian-opp- ... -1.3777620
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Civilian OPPs say they're paid less than uniformed officers

Postby Thomas » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:09 am

Civilian OPPs say they're paid less than uniformed officers in the same role

Equal pay and equal work are at the centre of a complaint that a group of civilian OPPs are bringing to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

Eighty-three people whom are mostly women are part of the human rights complaint.

Danielle Bisnar, co-counsel to the applicants, says the complainants aren’t comparing themselves to front line officers, but to uniformed OPP members who are doing the same roles as them in areas like human resources or support specialists.

Those that are part of the complaint are civilian managers and specialists from across Ontario who are saying they're paid less than the uniformed officer for doing the same role.


Amanda Weaver, who is an OPP civilian employee, says she feels undervalued and unappreciated for her job. She says often positions open up to either a uniformed manager or a civilian manager. If it goes to the civilian manager, their salary will be less.

"It's the exact same job, but the civilian manager will make anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 less,” she says.

The group is also raising concerns about a male dominated police culture, exemplified in an incident at a conference in Waterloo last year, featuring an Oktoberfest keg tap.

Last June Weaver says she was attending the Ontario Association of Police Chief’s Annual General Meeting when she was convinced to take part in the evening’s entertainment put on by Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

She says her hand was physically raised by a person in a higher ranking position, volunteering her to participate in what K-W Oktoberfest calls a "bavarian handshake" or "oktoberfest handshake."

Weaver and another woman were instructed to put their hands through the front flap of the male entertainer's lederhosen.

“It was a cultural and kind of opening event designed to humiliate two women,” Weaver says.

KW Oktoberfest no longer has this ritual and according to the president Margo Jones it’s outdated.

“There are certain things we used to do 50 years ago, 20 years ago, that we don't do any more. And this is one of the things that has to be put away,” she says.

In a statement the OPP says their organization takes great pride in the actions and work of all their employees and will abide by the decision or rulings made by the tribunal.

The human rights tribunal will continue in Toronto in either May or June.

With reporting by Krista Simpson

https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/civilian-o ... -1.3777532
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Female OPP employees take discrimination complaints to human

Postby Thomas » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:11 am

Female OPP employees take discrimination complaints to human rights tribunal

Fed up women that work with Ontario Provincial Police are taking their concerns to our province’s Human Rights Tribunal.

Dozens of civilian employees are banding together, alleging OPP have been responsible for systemic gender-discrimination and harassment.

One of the incidents cited by The Toronto Star allegedly took place locally in June of 2017, as the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police hosted an annual gathering in Waterloo.


It was co-hosted by K-W Oktoberfest, and two women claim they were pressured to take part in a “Bavarian handshake”.

The tradition is no longer a part of our Oktoberfest events, but it involved two women shaking hands through the front flap of a man’s lederhosen.

OPP have issued a statement regarding the complaints and tribunal.

You can read it below.

A complaint has been made with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that names the OPP as one of the respondent parties.

The OPP takes great pride in the actions and valued work of all of its employees. The organization, as part of the Ontario Public Service (OPS), has zero tolerance for workplace harassment and discrimination and is strongly committed to ensuring that all employees work in a respectful, professional environment. All complaints are taken seriously, and handled confidentially.

In order to ensure the OPP’s more than 9,000 employees work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination, the OPP has a robust set of policies governing the workplace. The purpose of these policies and training is to ensure that the OPP continues to be a highly respectful and inclusive environment. It is the responsibility of each member to report, in a timely manner, any alleged violation of the Government of Ontario’s Respectful Workplace Policy that they have witnessed or experienced.

The OPP acknowledges that it must remain vigilant to prevent and address any instance of harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace. All complaints brought forward are thoroughly reviewed and investigated as required to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and dignity, which is consistent with the values of the OPP and OPS.

The OPP will abide by the decision of the Tribunal and any rulings that are made as a result of this application.

http://www.570news.com/2018/01/26/femal ... -tribunal/
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Women say OPP pays them less, treats them worse than male co

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:13 pm

Women say OPP pays them less, treats them worse than male co-workers

Eighty-four women who work for the Ontario Provincial Police say they are treated worse and paid much less than male police officers.

They are civilian employees who work in accounting, human resources, information technology and other departments in OPP offices all across the province.

They have filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and had their first hearing last week. The next date is scheduled for April.

​Amanda Weaver, the vice-president of the Civilian Association of Managers and Specialists, says her members deal with the male-dominated culture at the OPP every day.

She says it's common for the woman in the room to be asked to get coffee, dial a phone number for a conference call or receive a comment on her appearance.

"Things like that occur all the time. And it's quite ingrained that we don't necessarily always realize it until after the fact. So, there's a lot of that going on," says Weaver.

She also claims that her members make much less than a uniformed officer—most of whom are men—assigned to do the same kind of administrative work.

"Sometimes what happens is a job posting goes up for a uniform manager, who's one of our male counterpart group, or a civilian manager/specialist. Same exact job posting, except the uniform manager will make $30,000 or $40,000 more," she says.

Weaver says raising the pay of her members to match their male police counterparts would be a "drop in the bucket" for the OPP.

The provincial police says it can't comment on the specific claims, because the case is currently before a human rights tribunal.

"We do acknowledge that we have to remain vigilant to prevent and properly correct any instances of harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace," says OPP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne.

She says that any specific complaints that arise out of this human rights tribunal will be investigated.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/o ... -1.4508260
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