The Safeway in Burnaby where a sexual joke was told to customer Brianne Duke. (Google Maps)

The Safeway in Burnaby where a sexual joke was told to customer Brianne Duke. (Google Maps)

Human rights complaint over ‘sexual dad joke’ at B.C. Safeway dismissed

Brianne Duke alleged Sobeys hadn’t dealt with her complaint properly

An escalating human rights complaint against a Burnaby Safeway involving a “sexual dad joke” has been dismissed.

In a decision released last week, tribunal member Catherine McCreary dismissed a complaint against the Safeway that involved an incident in October 2017.

Brianne Duke told the tribunal she had been shopping whens she was approached by an employee who claimed he had “inappropriate dad jokes” to tell her.

One of the jokes, Duke said, was: “What does a late prostitute say? I’m cumin!”

Duke alleged the employee told her other sexual jokes, but did not provide the tribunal with details.

A representative of Duke sent Safeway’s parent company, Sobeys, a letter about the “inappropriate and unprofessional” incident and asked for a $250 gift card and a public apology on all Safeway Canada social media accounts.

According to the decision, Sobeys spoke with two employees, one of whom acknowledged he had been involved.

He said he had been cleaning the spice aisle while asking customers if they wanted to hear an inappropriate joke and told the sex worker joke to those who agreed.

The employee acknowledged the joke was inappropriate, but said it was the only sexual joke he told Duke.

Sobeys disciplined the employee and sent Duke a $250 gift card, as well as an apology.

A few days later, Duke emailed Sobeys asking how the employee had been disciplined and if he was still working with the company, saying it would help her decide if she would keep shopping at the store or go elsewhere.

She was not told how or if the staffer had been disciplined, and “assumed that no discipline had occurred.”

She filed her complaint the same day.

READ MORE: Human rights complaint lodged by transgender woman against Surrey spa revisited

READ MORE: Human rights tribunal complaint by mom example of B.C. daycare “chaos,” advocate says

McCreary said there was nothing to suggest discipline hadn’t been sufficient or hadn’t taken place.

She said Sobeys had properly addressed the issue, and allowing Duke’s complaint to proceed would not advance the purposes of the human rights code.

“I am struck by the priority that Sobeys gave to the complaint. It immediately investigated and found the facts alleged by Ms. Duke to have occurred,” she wrote.

“While it claims for the purposes of this matter that the events do not amount to discrimination under the Code, Sobey’s [sic] nonetheless gave Ms. Duke what she asked for; a gift card and an apology.”

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media on Tuesday, Duke said she is pleased the tribunal at least recognized the employee’s conduct as sexual harassment, and that Sobeys and the employee have sent her additional apologies.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

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

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Most Read