The Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication has ordered a former supervisor at Alcan Motor Inn Restaurant & Lodge in Haines Junction to pay over $10,000 for sexual harassment.
Two girls, both now living in Whitehorse, claim Sid Quenneville sexually harassed them during the spring of 2011. The girls filed their complaints separately in August 2011 and February 2012. Neither can be named because they were both minors when they made their complaints. They were 15 and 17 years old while they worked at the restaurant.
The board is ordering Quenneville pay them each $5,000 for injury to their dignity, feelings and self-respect. Both girls were young and vulnerable when they worked at the restaurant, the decision says. The board is also ordering Quenneville pay one girl $1,680 and the other $840 for lost wages.
At a hearing in May, they both testified that Quenneville made them feel uncomfortable at work.
“I had a weird feeling of someone just looking at me,” said one of the girls, who worked at the restaurant as a dishwasher. She had worked there in 2010, but Quenneville was not a supervisor at that time. Once, Quenneville kicked her twice in the behind while she was washing dishes. “I didn’t really know how to react,” she told the tribunal. She mentioned the incident to the owner, Clinton McCuaig, but nothing happened.
The second girl, a server, also said Quenneville made her feel uncomfortable. “You could just see him checking you out,” she said. Quenneville also grabbed her behind in front of another male co-worker. This made her feel “degraded,” she said at the hearing.
She didn’t talk to either Quenneville or McCuaig about the incident.
She wanted to quit her job, but wasn’t sure how to, she said at the hearing.
Quenneville also said she and another male co-worker were in a sexual relationship. This wasn’t true. At the hearing in May, she hesitated to even repeat Quenneville’s comments.
Neither girl formally quit their jobs. They just stopped coming into work. This was the first place either of them had worked. Each had a hard time finding a job after they left the restaurant. One of them said she is so scared something like this may happen again that she has given up on finding a job.
“Although the events described by the complainants occurred two years ago, both were uncomfortable talking about their experiences,” the board wrote in its decision. The decision also notes that both girls are members of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, and Quenneville is not of First Nation ancestry. This added another layer to the power imbalance, the board said.
Quenneville knew about the hearing in May, but he did not attend. He no longer works at the restaurant. McCuaig has not seen Quenneville for a few years, McCuaig said in May.
The girls had also previously filed complaints against the business itself and reached a confidential settlement.
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