A former employee of the Talbot Arm Motel in Destruction Bay has been awarded $5,000 after the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication found in his favour. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Former Destruction Bay motel employee awarded $5k in human rights pantsing case

The Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication found that Peter Budge was pantsed up to five times by his boss, Charles Eikland, in 2014

A former employee of a motel in Destruction Bay has been awarded $5,000 after the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication found that his boss had violated his rights by repeatedly pulling his pants down.

In a decision dated June 20, the board wrote that it found former Talbot Arm Motel employee Peter Budge had indeed faced sexual harassment at the hands of motel co-owner Charles Eikland, who pulled down Budge’s pants on several occasions from May to September 2014.

Budge originally filed a complaint with the Yukon Human Rights Commission in 2015 over the pantsing incidents and also said that the motel, and by extension, its co-owners Eikland and Suzanne Tremblay, were complicit in the harassment by doing nothing to stop it.

He said that the harassment started after he returned to work following a serious car accident that left him on pain medication and with partial mobility in one of his arms.

Eikland and Tremblay denied the allegations and represented themselves when the complaint was heard before the board in Whitehorse in May.

In its decision, the board, consisting of chair Penelope Gawn and members Karen Keenan and B. Bruce Warnsby, wrote that it found Budge’s testimony largely credible, although it found that he “appeared to have a tendency to exaggerate his allegations to an extent that made them improbable and difficult to believe.”

Although it found that Eikland did pull Budge’s pants on several occasions, the board wrote that Budge’s assertion that the pantsing happened daily strained credibility. Witnesses who testified at the hearing only saw between two to five incidents, the board wrote.

The board also believed Tremblay’s evidence that she was unaware of the pantsing incidents and that she would have put a stop to them if she had known.

While it believed Eikland’s testimony that he found the allegations distressing, it did not believe his assertion that he only tried to pull down Budge’s pants once, if at all. It also believed that based on testimony from other witnesses, Eikland was known for joking around with staff.

“Given these circumstances, it is quite possible that the respondent Eikland did not know or did not fully appreciate that his conduct was unwelcome,” the board wrote. “However, he was not merely a co-worker but was an employer as one of the two owner/managers of the motel. The board finds on a balance of probabilities that Eikland certainly ought to have known that his pulling down or attempting to pull down an employee’s pants was unwelcome.”

The commission had submitted that Budge should be awarded $20,000 while Eikland and Tremblay argued that, if any award should be given, it should be $1,500.

Budge had requested $50,000 and a written apology.

The board ultimately awarded Budge $5,000, with both Eikland and Tremblay liable, and said that it did not have the power to order a written apology.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

World Cup season just around the corner for Yukon skiers

“I know I still really love to ski race and I feel like I haven’t reached my potential”

Whitehorse’s Nadia Moser named to biathlon World Cup team

“It’s pretty exciting to actually make the World Cup”

Ross River Dena Council appeal set to be heard

Appeal judges are looking at a 2017 Yukon Supreme Court decision on Canada’s duty to negotiate

Yukon NDP questions the cost of the health department’s medical review

$1.5 million appears to be going towards a steering committee and a “Tiger Team”

Yukon government helps fund 10 new affordable housing projects

The projects, supported by the housing initiatives fund, will build 123 new affordable units

EDITORIAL: Attention Whitehorse: shovel your sidewalks

For those who haven’t looked out a window this week, the snow… Continue reading

Youth boxers take home silver and gold medals

Alberta Sub-Novice Tournament, an introduction to competitive boxing, happened last weekend

Respite home offers a break to caregivers

Hillcrest home is a pilot project

Yukoners make a splash to mark the beginning of the swimming season

Nearly 120 swimmers took part in the Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet

Commentary: Lack of affordable housing in the Yukon is not about funds, but how we spend them

Why are we not building apartment complexes to serve the lower and lower-middle income bracket?

Driving with Jens: When should you plug your vehicle in?

You can probably still start your car without plugging it in at -25 C or colder, but you shouldn’t.

Yukonomist: Too far up the supply curve

Some copper mines come in and out of production as global demand for the metal surges and ebbs.

Most Read