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

LDSS valedictorian Daria Strimbold to represent B.C. for the WE virtual grad party

The event will be hosted by comedian Lilly Singh, on CTV on June 6

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

No fines issued in provincial parks over May longweekend

Activities restricted to day-use only

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Social distancing at the skatepark — kids style

Kids in the village have taken on board this season of social… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Most Read