The case of a former Destruction Bay motel employee who alleges his human rights were violated after his employer pulled down his pants for months on end was heard by the Yukon Human Rights Board of Adjudication in Whitehorse this week.
Peter Budge originally filed a complaint with the Yukon Human Rights Commission in 2015, alleging that Charles Eikland sexually harassed him by “incessantly” pulling Budge’s pants down between May and December 2014 while he was working at the Talbot Arm Motel restaurant. Budge also alleges that the motel, and by extension, its co-owners Eikland and Suzanne Tremblay, were complicit in the harassment by doing nothing to stop it, despite his vocal protests.
Eikland and Tremblay, who are representing themselves at the hearing and unsuccessfully applied to have it adjourned to a future date, deny the allegations.
Budge, who began his testimony on May 7, said that he worked at the motel from September 2013 until December 2014, with his employment interrupted by a serious car accident in October 2013. Budge said he was allowed to recuperate in the motel’s staff housing free of charge and returned to work in May 2014.
Upon his return, though, Budge alleged, Eikland began pulling down his pants on a nearly daily basis, including once while in front of a busload of tourists. Budge said he reacted angrily and swore at Eikland every time, adding that the impact of the incidents were amplified by his childhood history of sexual abuse.
The commission, being represented by lawyer Jennie Cunningham and law student Brandon Macleod, called upon three of Budge’s former coworkers to testify.
Eikland and Tremblay, however, claimed that Budge was aggressive and difficult to work with, and that they went above and beyond in accommodating his needs following the car accident. They also alleged that Budge regularly engaged in “horseplay” with other employees, including “nipple-twisting” and other forms of behaviour in the same degree as pantsing, that did not appear to bother him or leave a lasting emotional impact.
The hearing was scheduled to conclude May 11.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: James Badger/Flickr