Female Mounties allege harassment

Dec. 20, 2011 at 9:20 PM
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THUNDER BAY, Ontario, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- At least two dozen current and former female Canadian Mounties are getting ready to go to court, alleging they were harassed on the job, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Alexander Zaitzeff of Thunder Bay told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. the women want to initiate a class-action lawsuit against the force for a variety of on-the-job abuse they allege they suffered because of their gender.

"Constant terrible bullying, a hateful work environment, a tough place to actually show up and do your job, all the way to sexual assaults," Zaitzeff said. "That's the gamut."

Another lawyer, David Klein, told the network he has talked to potential plaintiffs and expects a lawsuit to be filed in British Columbia early in 2012, with class-action status possible as more plaintiffs sign on. The suit could seek millions of dollars in damages, but Klein said money "certainly isn't what the case is all about."

"Money isn't going to bring back someone's health. Money is not going to bring back a family or a broken career," Klein said.

Former Mountie Krista Carle said she was inspired to come forward and seek out other victims through a Facebook site after seeing a CBC story last month in which Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Catherine Galliford told how she had endured discrimination and racism during her 30 years with the force.

"It's almost like a group therapy with other women that experienced harassment and are taking a stand against it," Carle said. "I've had days I've been so depressed I just haven't wanted to get out of bed and that's where the Facebook site has been extremely supportive."

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