NDP employee says Hamilton MPP tried to force her to file sexual harassment complaint
An employee in a local NDP MPP's office has filed a human rights complaint, alleging the MPP pressured her to allege sexual harassment on the part of a coworker who liked to give hugs.
Sandra Troulinos has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She alleges Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor tried to force her to complain to human resources about another female coworker, even though Troulinos didn't think the coworker was harassing her.
In the complaint, the constituency assistant described Taylor as "increasingly aggressive and hostile toward my colleagues and me."
"She bullies and demeans us regularly," says the complaint, which asks for payment for lost wages and $225,000 in damages, as well as a written apology.
Taylor said in a statement last week that she's willing to cooperate and has been working to resolve the issue and have it investigated.
"If an employee has engaged in a formal process to resolve her concerns, I look forward to participating and being fully cooperative," she said.
"In fact, our human resources department has been proposing a fully independent investigation of this employee's concerns for several months. To date, neither the employee nor her union have agreed to participate."
The nine-page complaint was filed through Hamilton lawyer Wade Poziomka. The tribunal office confirmed it has the received the complaint.
In the complaint Troulinos says when she told Taylor she didn't feel harassed, she said Taylor mentioned that she would be doing "employee evaluations next week."
Poziomka would only say that he and his client "intend to ensure these serious allegations are adjudicated and determined through the grievance process, or at the tribunal."
The complaint says Taylor hired Troulinos in 2014, and the women had been friends for 34 years.
'It violated my own sexual integrity'
Taylor told Troulinos to complain to human resources about the hugging. When Troulinos refused, the complaint alleges, Taylor initiated the complaint for her, and tried to force her to participate in an investigation.
"I felt it violated my own sexual integrity to be forced to conform with someone else's view of what was and was not sexually appropriate."
The complaint comes at a high-stakes time for the NDP, which is trying to present itself as a viable governing party leading in to the June provincial election.
Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath is in her ninth year as leader. MPP Paul Miller is also running again in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.
Taylor is the former administrative assistant of then-councillor Scott Duvall. Duvall is now NDP MP for Hamilton Mountain, and the two share office space.
With files from Kelly Bennett