RCMP lawsuit that alleged sexist, racist workplace settled

RCMP lawsuit that alleged sexist, racist workplace settled

The RCMP officer who has settled her claim says she is now able to move forward in a better work environment. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

There has been a settlement in the case of a Vancouver Island RCMP officer who alleged a supervisor made derogatory comments against women and First Nations people.

Labour Rights Law Office represented Cpl. Swann, but we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the settlement.

The statement of claim filed in August 2017 named several supervisors, including the former commanding officer of British Columbia’s E-Division, claiming they did nothing to stop the harassment.

Cpl. Jill Swann said she could not reveal the terms of the settlement because she signed a non-disclosure agreement.

In a phone interview this week, she said she was relieved it’s behind her.

“You’re just happy it’s been resolved, that you can close the door on it and move forward,”  Swann said.

“And that’s what I want to do.”

She confirmed that the case was resolved at the end of July, almost a year after it was filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

‘There’s great people’

Swann, a  22-year RCMP veteran who had been off work for seven months in 2015 because of the harassment she faced, said she loved her work.

“It’s a great job and there’s great people,” Swann said, adding that there are new supervisors and management who “get it.”

“We have a process in place in the organization and when it works, it works very well. It’s just everybody has to know what the process is,” she said.

However, like many RCMP members who have spoken out about harassment or taken court action, Swann says she is still contacted by women who have had bad experiences seeking help and insight.

Swann’s suit claimed her immediate boss, Cpl. Roger Collin, called her names like “meth face” after she had some facial surgery, and “Big Red Machine” referring to her hair and weight gain.

Swann also claimed he often made derogatory comments about Indigenous people. Her husband — also an officer with the RCMP —  and children are Métis.

And she alleged Collin sent her a box of condoms in a bouquet of flowers when she gave birth to her youngest child, and also drew a bull’s-eye target symbol on her soft body armour along with some derogatory names.

The suit alleged that the RCMP “failed to provide … Swann with a safe workplace, free from all forms of harassment and intimidation,” contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the RCMP’s own rules.

Contacted by CBC News, now retired Cpl. Roger Collin said he had no information and nothing to say but his signature is on the settlement document filed this week.

The RCMP also declined comment.

In an email, E-Division spokesperson Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau wrote:  “We were advised by legal that a Consent Dismissal Order was entered and approved by the Court on September 18, 2018. We have no additional information that we can provide.”