The leader of the BC Conservative party is under fire over the dismissal of an employee of one of his restaurants after she reported being sexually harassed.
The incident, which took place in 2018 at a business owned by Trevor Bolin, was documented in a WorkSafeBC report circulated by the BC Liberals on Saturday.
“As the leader, Bolin needs to publicly address why he minimized the sexual harassment and then punished the female employee,” said the Liberals in a media release.
According to the report, a female staff member complained after her supervisor told her he wanted to have sex with her in January 2018.
When the employer refused to move the supervisor to a different shift, the woman reported the incident to the police. She was fired two days later, according to the report.
WorkSafeBC rejected the employer’s claims that the woman was fired for unrelated performance and attitude issues and found the restaurant had fired her on “prohibited discriminatory” grounds.
“Given the temporal connection between the worker reporting health and safety concerns seven days prior to her dismissal on January 31, 2018, the absence of contemporaneously prepared evidence from the employer documenting their concern with the worker’s performance or behaviour, the employer’s failure to follow their own bullying and harassment policy, and finally their decision on January 31, 2018 to dismiss her, I find that the employer has failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the worker being dismissed, was in any way not related to his health and safety activities,” concludes the report.
Global News requested comment from Bolin, who responded with a statement insisting the woman was not fired for making the complaint.
“Regrettably, the former staff member was dismissed for yelling at the general manager, after the internal investigation was finalized, which was being reflected in actions at the workplace and with other employees,” Bolin claimed.
Bolin said the regulator had determined the incident was “was dealt with” and acknowledged paying a monetary fine and providing a reference letter for the worker.
He said, in retrospect, he would have handled the situation differently.
“I have since realized that her lashing out was a sign for me to find out the root issues, and work with her to overcome them,” wrote Bolin.
Bolin went on to accuse the Liberals of digging up the issue because their political fortunes are “collapsing.”
Bolin is facing off against BC Liberal incumbent Dan Davies in Peace River North. The NDP is running candidate Danielle Monroe.
The Liberals won that riding with more than 66 per cent of the vote in 2017, and the third largest margin of victory in any race in the province.