Monarch Theatre harassment not criminal, according to report
City Centre Development Agency says it will take steps to improve workplace environment
An outside investigation has found no evidence of any criminal activity regarding workplace harassment allegations levelled against the manager of the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat.
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The City Centre Development Agency, which runs the Monarch, commissioned the investigation following a series of stories done by CBC News last fall.
"The investigation has confirmed there was certainly nothing of a criminal nature that went on. There was some difficulty in pinpointing exactly what went on," said town councillor and newly appointed CCDA board member Bill Cocks.
He says the board concluded there was no cause to dismiss any current employees, but "we do need to improve our policies and procedures with respect to employment issues and employment workplace environment."
Several employees, aged 13 to 25, alleged they were harassed by the theatre manager and that sexual comments were made about their appearances.
Some employees said they complained about the behaviour but no one took them seriously.
A police investigation of one young woman's complaint found there was no evidence to support a criminal charge.
Report not being released to public
The CCDA asked KARA Safety and Management to do an investigation of the complaints.
Its report was discussed by the CCDA board on Monday night. It is not releasing the report publicly.
In an interview with CBC News last fall, the chair of the CCDA board questioned the sincerity of the workers' complaints. Les Schwabe said "I think they're being coerced by some adults that have a different agenda." He refused to elaborate on what that agenda might include.
Cocks said the board was aware of some issues even before receiving the report, and "was working on trying to establish clear guidelines and give some direction to staff as to appropriate behaviours and when not to yell and fuss and make a muss."
Human Rights Commission
The CCDA is also the subject of at least two complaints to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Those complaints remain under investigation.
Last month, Medicine Hat's city council voted to remove one of the complainants from the CCDA board. The move was made because Natasha Shannon missed three board meetings.
At the time, Shannon said it was unreasonable to expect her to attend meetings while her complaint against the organization remains under investigation.