Calgary business employee fired after sending unsolicited derogatory, sexual comments to new hire
An employee at a Calgary business has been fired after sending unsolicited derogatory and sexual comments to a new hire.
The incident happened last Friday, and prompted Calgary job seeker Jayed James to take to social media after receiving offensive messages she believed weren’t intended for her, but were inadvertently sent.
James said she had been hired to start a new position at Liftboss as a receptionist. Her first day on the job was to be Jan. 31.
One day after being notified that she got the job, she received Facebook messages from another Liftboss employee she believed were intended for someone else.
The employee said James was “not hard on the eyes, she’s british (sic),” adding “And exotic lol.”
He then sent her a screengrab of a photo of herself, cropping out her husband, and said her skin colour doesn’t matter.
“It’s all pink on the inside brother.
“She starts at the end of the month. Might be working late.”
James said she connected with the other employee through a friend of a friend, responding to an advertisement that the company was looking for a temporary receptionist.
She said she was appalled when she received the messages.
“Tell your boss I won’t be coming in and you can explain why!” she responded.
“[It was] so derogatory and so demeaning that I was disgusted, violated,” James said Wednesday, via Skype from London. “Those words do not justify how I felt I don’t think there was a word.”
Corporate counsel for Liftboss, Brian Thompson called the employee’s behavior completely unacceptable, adding it doesn’t align with the company’s core values.
“This was an employee doing things of their own, that [the company] had no control of,” Thompson said.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any level of harassment.”
The employee that sent James the messages has been fired, Liftboss confirmed. Global News was not able to reach the employee for comment.
James is originally from London and has been living in Calgary as a permanent resident for the past four years.
She is still looking for another job and said she felt compelled to speak up.
“For all the women who are suffering in silence or don’t feel confident to speak out, I recommend that you bite the bullet and speak out,” she said.
Debra Tomlinson, CEO at the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, said in her opinion, the messages are considered sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
Tomlinson said if more and more people are supported and believed, more people will come forward, “this is the tip of the iceberg”, she said.
“Social media has provided survivors people a safe and anonymous platform to speak their truth,” she said. “Currently In North America, we are experiencing an unprecedented culture shift towards supporting people when they disclose sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
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