March 14, 2018 4:48 pm
Updated: March 15, 2018 7:52 pm

Waitress launches Ontario human rights complaint after alleging boss said ‘bring a vibrator to work’

A former employee of Papa Joe's Hot Kettle has launched a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She alleges her former boss sexually harassed and assaulted her. Farah Nasser reports.

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Jill Coture has launched a human rights complaint after she alleges her former boss sexually harassed her for months while she worked as a waitress at Papa Joe’s Hot Kettle in Ayr, Ont., south of Kitchener.

“He grabbed my breasts twice, rubbed my buttocks, [he] tried undoing my bra several times — all in the kitchen in front of male employees,” she told Global News anchor Farah Nasser.

“He asked me to bring a vibrator to work so he could watch me in the bathroom.”

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Coture described those allegations in a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). But her former boss, Criss Voulcaridis, denied the allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

She said she worked at Papa Joe’s Hot Kettle between October and December 2016. She alleged the harassment became so unbearable that she would use the bathroom at the business next door.

“It got to the point where the staff room was near his office and I wouldn’t even go to the bathroom. I would go next door to the Flying J and use their bathroom,” she told Nasser.

Coture said she wasn’t alone in her feelings and in December 2016, she went to police along with two other female employees to formally press charges.

Voulcaridis was charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of assault. But in October 2017, the sexual assault charges were withdrawn and Voulcaridis pled guilty to three counts of simple assault.

He denied having ever touched his former employee’s breasts and buttocks, adding the flicking and touching he admitted to was of a non-sexual nature.

Voulcaridis received a conditional discharge and was given nine months of probation. He was also ordered to pay a $300 victim service charge.

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Unhappy with the court’s decision, Coture and the two other former waitresses involved in the criminal proceedings are now going to the OHRC for lost wages and therapy costs that Coture said were incurred because of the alleged sexual assaults.

“The women are looking for justice,” said Marcela Slinin, Coture’s lawyer.

“Not just in a criminal context, they want to be made whole again… they want someone to condemn the accused’s actions.”

Voulcaridis is asking for the OHRC complaint to be dismissed because the matter has already been dealt with in court, according to documents responding to the application.

“The court determined that the conduct upon which the application is based was not the result of discrimination,” the documents said, adding “it was the result of a lack of appreciation on the part of Mr. Voulcaridis that his conduct was unwelcome.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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