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Former Minto Mine manager alleges discrimination, wrongful dismissal in lawsuit

Allegations of racism, unlawful use of intellectual property included in lawsuit.
Interior of Whitehorse court room. (File Photo)

A former Yukon mine employee is claiming she experienced harassment, anti-First Nations racism and wrongful dismissal at the Minto Mine.

Nikolett Kovacs, who filed a lawsuit against the company on Oct. 14, served as Minto Explorations’ exploration manager from February 2018 to May 2021.

The job is described in the statement of claim as a senior leadership role and a prestigious position in the management of the Minto Mine. The mine is located about 250 kilometres north of Whitehorse.

The lawsuit alleges failure on the part of the company to protect Kovacs from ongoing harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination and racism by fellow employees. It goes on to allege that the company, reaching as far as its CEO, actively or passively condoned the ongoing harassment.

“As part of the harassment and toxic workplace, the defendant’s Chief Executive Officer displayed, fostered and encouraged a culture and environment of racism, making racially derogatory comment to and in front of the plaintiff, being fully aware that she was married to a First Nations person, and that the Plaintiff was involved in negotiations with First Nations governments,” the Oct. 14 statement of claim reads.

“As a result of the discrimination, the Plaintiff has suffered an infringement of her Human Rights, particularly her right to be free from discrimination and the experience of victimization, resulting in losses including but not limited to, injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The lawsuit goes on to claim that Kovacs was wrongfully dismissed from the job in May following what she and her lawyers say were false accusations of confidentiality breach. It also says that the company seized some of Kovacs’ personal property, including a laptop. Kovacs and her lawyers claim the dismissal was based on her sex or her marital status and race.

As a result of the actions alleged in the lawsuit Kovacs claims she has suffered mental distress resulting in psychological, physical and emotional injuries. Unlawful use of Kovacs’ intellectual property following her dismissal is also alleged.

The allegations have not been heard or proven in court.

Minto Explorations Ltd. did not respond to a request for comment by the Yukon News’ deadline and has not yet filed a statement of defence.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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