Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sexual Harassment Class Action

Table of Contents


Sexual harassment appears to be a relevant topic in human resource management. The number of complaints regarding the problem has significantly increased over the past few decades. There are numerous occasions when harassment in the workplace is associated with employment-related promises and threats forcing people (women mostly) to provide sexual services (Schwind, 2013).

The legal proceeding in RCMP sexual-harassment class action, which took place from October 2016 to May 2017, was exactly the case dealing with the outlined issue. The following case study will review the action from both legal and moral perspectives and will provide details regarding its outcomes. All the relevant data will be supported by the links to scholarly resources listed on the reference page.

Case Outline and the Major Stakeholders

The landmark deal in RCMP sexual-harassment class action addressed the problem of sex-related harassment within the rows of Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A class-action suit was initiated by a former member of the RCMP, Janet Merlo (Schwind, 2013). The stakeholders of the deal were all women who had been harassed while working for the RCMP department since September 1974, the year of the official invitation of female recruits. The suit was filed by both former and current female employees. A notable fact about this case is that the federal government has issued $100 million in total to pay claims (Foote & Fitzgerald, 2016).

Legislation Linked to the Case

Regarding the legislation applied to the issue, the case was a violation of the key principles of the Canadian Human Rights Act related to the matters of employment (Schwind, 2013). By the act, the prohibitions against harassment may include verbal abuse or threats, unwelcome remarks or requests, displaying pornographic or racist pictures, unnecessary physical contact, etc. The legislation was applied concerning several prohibitions among which unwelcome remarks and unnecessary physical contact were given priority. To add more, particular directives of the Employment Equity Act were referred to during the lawsuit. Judge, Ann Marie McDonald found the settlement to be in the best interests of all women who had ever faced the given problem.

Ways to Avoid Future Occurrences

Considering an unprecedented decision of the Federal Court to pay up to $220.000 to women who have been sexually harassed, one can hypothesize that the occurrences of the issue will be reduced to the minimum in future court practices. The introduction of public organizations and websites dealing with complaints about sexual harassment is the first reasonable step in problem elimination (Farhang, Kastellec, & Wawro, 2015). Organizations and stakeholders involved in this issue can avoid its reoccurrence by simply notifying employees about the consequences of such unacceptable behavior. For that purpose, the directives of the Canadian Human Rights Act need to be learned and strictly observed by all the staff members.


The problem of sexual harassment in Canada has been waiting for its resolution since the first half of the 1970s. The federal court settlement of May 24, 2017, has finally resolved the issue stating the measures of punishment for the violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act. By the act, unwelcome remarks/requests and unnecessary physical contact can be regarded as sexual harassment. Claims regarding the issue can be addressed in a written form using an electronic inquiry found on the devoted government websites.


Farhang, S., Kastellec, J. P., & Wawro, G. J. (2015). The politics of opinion assignment and authorship on the US court of appeals: Evidence from sexual harassment cases. The Journal of Legal Studies, 44(S1), S59-S85.

Foote, W. E., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (2016). Psychological injury and the law special issue: Sexual harassment. Psychological Injury and Law, 9(3), 203-205.

Schwind, H. F. (2013). Canadian human resource management (10th ed.). Whitby, Canada: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.

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