On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

Employees stage walk-out at Kicking Horse Resort over allegations of workplace harassment

Three employees refused to show up to their shifts today over the allegations

Several female employees are refusing to work at a Kicking Horse Mountain Resort business, over allegations of workplace harassment and an unsafe workplace.

Three employees did not show up to their scheduled shifts on March 15, citing that they do not feel comfortable or safe while working.

The move comes after an internal investigation was launched into one of the managers at the resort. Several employees made allegations that they faced bullying and a toxic environment. The manager was removed for two weeks, before being reinstated to his position last Friday.

Amelia McLean, an employee at the resort who walked out on Monday, stated that at least twice the manager made unsolicited comments to her on her appearance, which she says constitutes sexual harassment, something she has expressed to upper management at the resort.

“Once, I was working, and he saw my pass hanging from my pocket and he took a good look, studied it for a second and said, ‘Oh, you’re pretty hot.’ That was pretty early in the season and I remember going home and telling my boyfriend that I thought it was pretty weird, but I guess it’s kind of like a boys club,” said McLean.

“Another time I was just handing him something and he said, ‘Thanks, beautiful’, before backtracking and saying, ‘Thanks, employee’. So obviously he realized he had said something kind of strange and was trying to backpedal.”

The employee code of conduct at Kicking Horse defines workplace harassment as a single incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, comment, bullying or action that the person ought to reasonably know will cause offence or humiliation to a worker.

“I’ve witnessed a few of these incidents,” added another female Kicking Horse employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

“One time Amelia was wearing a shirt and made a comment that it was cold, and he looked her up and down and said, ‘Yeah, maybe if you put more clothes on’.

“It’s just comments like that, that are inappropriate in general, the way he speaks.”

She added that other employees have spoken to the manager concerning language used that has made multiple people uncomfortable throughout the season.

She was not scheduled to work on Monday, or she would have participated in the walk-out.

Both employees added that it’s not just the female staff.

“The boys feel it too, especially when he came back to work, they were all checking in with us to see how we are feeling,” added the unnamed employee.

The employee added that the alleged behaviour was not limited to being directed solely at female staff.

Chelsea Orme-Williams, another employee, spoke about her experience working with a medical condition, stating that she felt humiliated when the manager told her in front of other staff that she had to let people know where she was going and when she was going to the washroom.

“In certain situations, I don’t have time to tell people where I’m going and regardless, that’s my business,” she said.

“He singled me out, opened up by saying ‘I’m not singling you out’ and in that situation, I felt embarrassed and humiliated.”

While she was not a part of the walkout, she said she would have had she been scheduled to work.

All three pointed out that this kind of behaviour is in direct violation of the employee code of conduct, which states that “every RCR (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns Kicking Horse Mountain Resort) employee is responsible and accountable for creating an organizational culture of respect by ensuring one’s behaviour is respectful and appropriate at all times and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.”

Disrespectful behaviour is defined by the code of conduct as comments, actions or gestures that are humiliating, offensive, hurtful or belittling.

All three employees said that they raised their concerns with human resources at the resort during the initial investigation and were shocked when they were abruptly informed that he would be returning to work, following a meeting and a planned apology. The three employees said that they had not heard from HR throughout the process, apart from being informed he would be returning.

In the meeting, at least one other employee walked out.

“We should not have been asked as employees to be in that meeting at 8 a.m. before work, following everyone’s concerns, people’s attitudes, the allegations, I do not consider this a safe work environment,” said Orme-Williams.

“To be forced to stand in a room with a man that has bullied you sexually harassed others, been inappropriate in his behaviour, I find that extremely difficult. I’m not surprised that people have walked out.”

All three have said that they would like to continue to work at the resort.

“The health, safety and well-being of our staff is the number one priority, we treat all incidents with care and the process is ongoing,” read a statement from the resort.

Kicking Horse declined to comment further on the situation, citing that the investigation was ongoing.

None of the allegations have been brought before the RCMP.

READ MORE: Golden’s Daley Bread Bakery opens doors

READ MORE: Kamloops man charged with forcible confinement, assault, firearms offences

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

sexual harassment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins says she’s leaving at the end of the school year. Photo: Tyler Harper
School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins resigns

Perkins is leaving to take over another district

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

A mushroom grower plans to plan new mushrooms in fallen trees in the Kaslo Community Forest. File photo
Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Most Read