Slap Across the Face Gets Plaintiff $65,000

In Bassanese v German Canadian News Company ( 2019 ONSC 1343) Justice Soosin, in a motion for default judgement, had the following fact situation:

The Plaintiff, a 73 year old female clerk with 19 years service, was verbally harassed by a male co-worker on a number of occasions. Twice she complained to her employer, who did zilch.

One day the co-worker slapped the plaintiff in the face three times. The Plaintiff complained to her employer an filed a police report.

The employers’ response?

She was fired the same day and given no notice.

The judge awarded $15,000 for the assault under the doctrine of vicarious liability.

The judge went on to award $50,000 aggravated  damages because the employer ignored her prior complaints, failed to investigate the assault or take steps to discipline her abusive co-worker.

Interestingly, the judge did not seem to rely on what I see as the most obnoxious behaviour of the employer, which was to fire her, rather than her abuser.

The plaintiff was also awarded notice of 19 months.

The total award, with costs,  came to $204,433.

Counsel for the Plaintiff was Maria Esmatyar of Lecker & Associates. My son, Matthew Fisher, is a partner at this firm but he had nothing to do with this file.