Court Finds That Plaintiff Committed Sexual Harassment But No Just Cause and Also Awarded $25k in Punitive Damages:

In Cho v. Café La Foret Ltd., 2022 BCSC 1560, Justice Shergill had a situation where a 60 year old  Head Baker in a Korean bakery was found to have inappropriately touched a 20 year old subordinate on the shoulder, arm and buttocks.

The Employer conducted an investigation in which the Plaintiff admitted his conduct and agreed to apologize to the young woman. However the Employer told him the only way he could keep his job was to sign an affidavit ( in English which was not a language that the Plaintiff was comfortable) admitting that he had committed a sexual assault. The Employer refused to give the Plaintiff his ROE unless he signed the affidavit. The sole purpose of the affidavit was to enable the complainant to press criminal carges against the Plaintiff.

The Court found that the sexual harrassment was ” relatively minor” and was just a “gross error of judgement” . The Court initially awarded 5 months notice but then reduced it to two months due to a failure to mitigate, resulting in a reduction of about $16,000. The Court then awarded $25,000 in punitive damages because of the attempt by the Employer to have the Plaintiff sign the affidavit and put himself in legal jeopardy.

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