A possible high-profile lawsuit is being heard in a B.C. courtroom today, which was filed by a female RCMP officer whose lawyer allege that the case shall be declared a class-action and go before a judge. RCMP veteran, Janet Merlo, mentioned in the court filing that she, along with other female members, faced gender-based discrimination at the force and it failed to take any remedial action. She claims to have been bullied and harassed on the job, although none of these allegations have been proven in court.
The gender-based discrimination case filed by Merlo is just one of several that the RCMP is going to be defending regarding alleged harassment or sexual abuse within the force. A former spokesperson for the in Vancouver, Cpl. Catherine Galliford, who remained a public face of the force during the Air India and Robert Pickton cases, also filed a class-action lawsuit last year claiming that she was subjected to years of abuse. On the other hand, Const. Karen Katz also filed two lawsuits, one of which claims she was harassed and sexually assaulted by a colleague, while the other claims that the abuse spanned her career. Noticeably, The RCMP has issued denials in several of the cases.
An internal report published last year found that gender-based harassment was becoming very common among female officers. The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP presented numerous suggestions of changing the method of handing internal grievances about harassment, including making the process more independent and many others.
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