Whitehorse girls allege sexual harassment by former boss

Two Whitehorse girls are claiming that their former boss at the Alcan Motor Inn Restaurant & Lodge in Haines Junction sexually harassed them during the spring of 20.

Two Whitehorse girls are claiming that their former boss at the Alcan Motor Inn Restaurant & Lodge in Haines Junction sexually harassed them during the spring of 2011.

Neither can be named because both were minors when they filed their complaints with the Yukon Human Rights Commission. Their complaints are against their former boss, Sid Quenneville. One of the girls filed her complaint in August 2011, the other in February 2012.

Quenneville looked at them inappropriately and grabbed and kicked them in the behind, the girls allege. Both were high school students when they worked for Quenneville during May 2011. This was the first place either of them had worked, they told the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication at a hearing on Tuesday.

One was a server. The other was a dishwasher. She had also worked at the restaurant during the previous summer. Quenneville did not work there in 2010.

“I used to really like working there,” she said. But Quenneville made her feel uncomfortable. “I had a weird feeling of someone just looking at me,” she said.

She felt this way several times around Quenneville, but ignored it, she said. One day, 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 talked to the owner, Clinton McCuaig, but never mentioned the incident to Quenneville, she said.

The other complainant also testified Quenneville made her feel uncomfortable. “You could just see him checking you out,” she said. He also grabbed her behind once in front of another male co-worker, she said. It made her feel “degraded,” she said. She didn’t talk to either Quenneville or McCuaig about the incident.

“I felt like I was going to lose my job on the spot if I ever did,” she said. “I wanted to quit, but I didn’t know how. It was my first job.”

Neither girl formally quit their jobs. They stopped coming into work, they said. And they didn’t tell each other about what had happened until after they had stopped working at the restaurant, they told the board.

They both had trouble finding work after quitting the restaurant, they said. One worked on-call as a receptionist for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, but only received a few shifts for the rest of the summer. The other has stopped looking for jobs because she’s scared she may be harassed again, she said.

The girls have also filed human rights complaints against the business. These complaints have been settled. The terms of the settlement are confidential, the board heard.

Quenneville did not appear at Tuesday’s hearing. He no longer works at Alcan Motor Inn Restaurant & Lodge, McCuaig confirmed Tuesday afternoon. He has not seen Quenneville for a couple years, he said.

The Yukon Human Rights Commission attempted to call a man who also worked with the girls as a witness. He lives in Manitoba, and could not be reached by telephone. The commission was prepared to submit an interview they did with him during the investigation into the complaint. The board decided this was not necessary.

The commission will present closing statements on Friday. The board will have a month to make its decision.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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