B.C. court says sex harassment alleged by tenant amounts to discrimination

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B.C.’s top court has ruled that sexual harassment does constitute sexual discrimination in the case of a woman who filed a human-rights complaint against her landlord.

Noemi MacGarvie alleged she was physically and verbally harassed by John Friedmann while she was living in an East Vancouver building he owned.

MacGarvie was awarded nearly $20,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, but the decision was later overturned after a review by the B.C. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court determined that proof of sexual harassment does not necessarily support a ruling that sexual discrimination took place.

However, a three-member Appeal Court panel has agreed the Supreme Court decision should be set aside and the financial award reinstated.

In a written judgment issued today (November 8), the Appeal Court concluded the type of sexual harassment alleged by MacGarvie constitutes sexual discrimination.

The judgment points to a case of workplace sexual discrimination where the Supreme Court of Canada reached the same conclusion.

The Appeal Court says female tenants have the same right to be free from sexual harassment as female employees.

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