The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will hear a complaint from a woman who alleges she was the subject of harassment while working at McDonald’s in Kamloops — harassment from co-workers that included sexual advances and mocking her Jewish heritage.
Jennifer Warner worked at McDonald’s for eight years and claims the incidents of harassment took place between 2016 and 2018. Her complaint is against Dawnal Quick Serve Ltd., the restaurant group overseeing franchisee Al Gozda’s McDonald’s restaurants in Kamloops.
Warner alleges two co-workers subjected her to Nazi salutes and foot marching, while chanting “Heil Hitler” and slamming into her. She also claims they called her a “prude, suck and geriatric bitch,” adding the harassment from the pair continued after they left the job and visited McDonald’s as customers from mid-2018 until February 25, 2019, when Warner was fired.
In February 2017, Warner alleges one of her male co‐workers gave her “unsolicited history lessons” that were sympathetic to the Nazi campaign during the Second World War. In March 2017, Warner claims a female co‐worker made remarks that a few cheese slices resembled the “Star of David.”
Warner also alleges a male co‐worker engaged in various unwanted acts and comments that she understood to be sexual in nature, which were ongoing until his employment ended in 2018. In particular, she claims the co‐worker cornered and groped her, asked her for sexual favours and subjected her to gossip about another former co‐worker’s sex life.
Warner alleges that her various complaints to management went unanswered or were not properly addressed and, ultimately, she was targeted for dismissal after complaining.
Dawnal Quick Serve Ltd. had argued for the Tribunal to reject the complaint for filing because Warner has drafted it in an ambiguous manner, with a lack of clarity and a paucity of particulars.
Although Warner filed the complaint past the one-year deadline limitation period outlines in legislation, tribunal member Steven Adamson allowed it to proceed to hearing. Adamson noted Warner’s erroneous belief that she could not file with the Tribunal as she had already filed a complaint with WorkSafeBC over her employment termination.
(WorkSafeBC denied her claim on Feb. 20, 2020, and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal upheld that decision on April 9, 2021.)
“In this case, the information on file indicates that for a brief time during February 2020 before the one year allotted to file expired on February 25, 2020, Ms. Warner thought Tribunal registry staff told her she could not file while she had a claim at WorkSafeBC,” Adamson stated in his ruling. “From her email correspondence with the Tribunal, I see that Ms. Warner worked reasonably diligently from February 27, 2020 until March 6, 2020 to file a complaint form with the Tribunal.”