Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

WestJet is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its request to throw out a proposed class-action lawsuit that accuses the airline of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.

The court documents filed Thursday, the Calgary-based airline argued the allegations fall within the mandate of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and should be resolved through the human rights tribunal or workers’ compensation board, not through the courts.

READ MORE: Former B.C. flight attendant protests sexual harassment outside YVR, asked to leave

In 2017, former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis disclosed claims that Westjet broke the contractual promise of providing a harassment-free workplace after she alleged a male pilot sexually assaulted her during a stopover in Hawaii in 2010.

The airline has denied it failed to take appropriate action after she brought the sexual assault claims forward.

Lewis’ case has “opened the door for employees to avoid the comprehensive federal human rights regime established by Parliament and bring human rights claims directly to the courts,” the application for leave to appeal read.

The lawsuit, which has yet to be approved by the court as a class-action proceeding, aims to represent all of WestJet’s past and current female flight attendants whose employment contract includes the same promise.

WestJet’s first application to dismiss it was rejected by the B.C. Supreme Court in 2017. The argument was then taken to the B.C. Court of Appeal last February, where a three-judge panel ruled against the airline again.

#METOO AT WORK: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

Black Press Media has reached out to Lewis and the airline for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@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

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

B.C. men arrested after theft of heavy equipment leads to highway blockade

One man surrendered to police while the other was taken into custody the next morning, RCMP say

PHOTOS: Trans Mountain hosts mock oil spill response practice in Kamloops

Practice comes after an excavator accidentally struck the pipeline near Jacko Lake in mid-February

Federal Indigenous services minister meets First Nation at rail blockade

Blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory near Belleville, Ont., is in its 10th day

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

Most Read