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Broadcast personality Jennifer Valentyne alleges gender discrimination at former employer

Jennifer Valentyne in a video posted to Facebook over the weekend. Facebook

Canadian broadcast personality Jennifer Valentyne posted a video to social media on Saturday, detailing allegations of gender discrimination in former broadcast roles that she suggests ultimately led to her being fired.

In a nearly 13-minute video posted to Facebook, Valentyne doesn’t specifically name individuals or companies, but based on comments and her replies to comments, seems to refer to her time working for rock radio station Q107 and Global News Morning, in addition to a previous broadcast role.

(Both Q107 and GNM are owned and operated by Corus Entertainment.)

“What would you do if a coworker screamed at you, belittled you, called you names, shut you out, brought you to tears, and then laughed when he told you to cry all you want? That he didn’t feel one bit sorry for you, and let you know with utter conviction that if you went to HR, they would choose him?” Valentyne says at the beginning of the video.

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“Would you take a dream job working as a radio host if you knew you would be working with a co-host with accusations of prior abusive behaviour towards women and that you would also be exposed to two, sometimes three men vaping in an enclosed room for four hours a day with no ventilation? Would you complain about it?” she asks in the video.

Valentyne was formerly a host on the popular Derringer in the Morning, hosted by longtime radio personality John Derringer.

A Q107 spokesperson released a statement on Tuesday regarding the allegations.

“We are aware that Ms. Valentyne has voiced concerns about her time in the broadcasting industry, including from her time with us,” it reads.

“A few years ago, Ms. Valentyne’s shared certain concerns and we took action to review at that time. There is also a process underway with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. We have had mediated conversations with her, been responsive to proceedings, and we are waiting determination of next steps. We take these matters seriously and look forward to a resolution.

“Over the past two days we have received new information about workplace concerns in our station. We have referred these to our ethics and conduct team and have retained Rachel Turnpenney from Turnpenney Milne LLP to conduct an external investigation. Effective immediately the show Derringer in the Morning will be on hiatus pending the conclusion of the investigation.

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Any concerns involving employee experience are of the utmost importance to us and we are committed to listen, learn and take any appropriate action.”

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The spokesperson said with the processes underway and “out of respect for confidentiality and privacy of those involved,” they would not comment on “specific details.”

In Valentyne’s video, she says that throughout her lengthy broadcast career, she has had to face gender discrimination in the workplace.

“Like so many women, I have put up and shut up,” she says. “But there was one thing I just couldn’t put up with: a company that was willing to put my physical health in jeopardy.”

Valentyne alleges that during her time at Q107, her three coworkers would vape inside the small radio room. She says she developed a chronic cough, lost her voice two times and found it “hard to have to breathe in the smoke every single day.”

She claims she saw two doctors, was given an inhaler and steroids, and then asked to have a supervisor sit in the room with them, or to have another woman in there with her.

She says she began to throw up most mornings before she went into the room, sometimes would cry in the washroom during songs and would walk into the studio shortly before the show started “to avoid breathing in the smoky air.”

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“I was shocked to find out that other employees had bets on how long I would last in that room,” she alleges.

Valentyne says she was eventually told she would be placed in another job, moving from radio back to TV. She says she didn’t want to move and give up the job she “had been hired to do.”

Read more: Women achieving parity at entry level jobs, but are not being promoted: study

Valentyne says she went through “major depression,” kept to herself, and took time to consider all that had occurred, and she eventually decided to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for gender discrimination.

Q107 and ‘Global News Morning’ are both properties of Corus Entertainment.

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