Canadian Niagara Hotels is doubling-down and suggesting in their latest statement that women who bravely stepped forward made “false allegations” about their experiences of mishandled workplace sexual assaults.
The employer’s sunny version of events is incompatible with the real experiences of the women who suffered these workplace assaults. These awful incidents were followed by a grossly negligent response from their employer. Now they are adding insult to injury by saying these women are making things up.
This much is clear:
- The company’s careless actions and refusal to apologize for their mistakes speaks louder than any of their written policies or PR statements
- The company is falsely claiming that complainants “asked the Restaurant not to fire the co-worker” who committed the assaults as a justification for their failure to do so
- In fact, one woman specifically asked her AGM why her assailant was still working on the floor when other employees had been fired for much less, including cellphone use in the workplace
- The complainant was made to feel fearful for her job when the manager obliquely responded by saying that there were a variety of observable offenses that warranted termination, like taking french fries from the kitchen
- The company actively victim-shamed their employees and failed to even ask about their well-being after the assaults
- Complainants received calls from their employer – not to ask how they were feeling – but to encourage them to accept apologies from their assailant because he was visibly upset, couldn’t sleep at night, and the company didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable at work
- The company only terminated the person who committed the sexual assaults after the strike began and the issue become public knowledge
- The AGM neglected to speak with an employee who witnessed at least one of the incidents and was satisfied from his review of video surveillance that a firm warning would suffice, telling one complainant that video footage could be construed as “acceptance”
- When a concerned co-worker met with the AGM to tell him that the complainants did not feel safe working on the floor with their assailant, he was firmly told that the issue had already been “taken care of” and instructed to leave
- According to the company’s dubious narrative, this serious matter was not brought to HR’s attention for 5 days and required an additional 7 days to respond
- The women have yet to receive a copy of the investigation into their complaints and corrective actions being taken by their employer as required by the Ontario Health & Safety Act
These are inexcusable errors. Canadian Niagara Hotels needs to take responsibility for their mistakes. Managers cannot be allowed to sweep issues like sexual violence under the rug. Employees expect accountability, transparency and integrity from their employer at all times. Rainforest Cafe workers need a union contract so they can return to a workplace where they feel safe and have real protections.
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Update (May 9): CNH Boycott Website Launched