Hundreds of Canadian Mounties join harrassment case
Hundreds of female Canadian Mounties have claimed they suffered discrimination, bullying and harassment while working within the mounted police force.
More than 200 past and present employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have come forward to join a class action lawsuit after former employee Janet Merlo filed the suit in March.
Dozens had been expected to come forward but now the figure is in the hundreds. Lawyers anticipate there are still more women yet to emerge to make allegations.
As reported by CTV news, the acting attorney on the case, Jason Murray, said: “We’re still hearing from women who either are currently members of the RCMP or who have retired or left the force in other ways. On a week-to-week basis we’re hearing from people coming forward who have complaints about how they feel they were treated when they were with the RCMP.
“It’s a significant number. It says to us there’s a significant problem that people feel has happened within the RCMP with respect to how women are treated.”
Ms Merlo worked with the RCMP from 1991 to 2010, during which time she says in her statement of claim that she was subjected to verbal abuse and bullying.
Incidents include offensive items being left with her post, such as a dildo and a derogatory manual titled ‘Training Courses Now Available for Women’.
She also states that male members of her detachment repeatedly told her now husband that they had had sex with her.
Ms Merlo left the RCMP in March 2010 suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Mr Murray said that the new allegations “range from people who feel they’ve been passed over for an assignment or promotion because of their gender to people who have had words and taunting all the way up to incidents of sexual assault and physical assault.”
The case is one of several cases that have been filed against the mounted police force in Canada recently.
In a separate case another woman, Cpl Catherine Galliford, claims that she was sexually assaulted, harassed and intimidated during 20-years working for the RCMP and that she suffered from post-traumatic stress as a result. Cpl Galliford is suing the force, where she had been the public face of several prolific investigations.
These allegations were denied by the Federal Government, which represents the RMCP, but earlier this year the force announced it would train 100 officers to investigate sexual harassment complaints internally.
Ms Merlo’s case will have a first hearing before the Supreme Court of British Colombia on Thursday August 2, but most class-action suits take several years to be heard completely.