4 New Brunswick women join RCMP class-action lawsuit

Four current or former female RCMP officers in New Brunswick have joined a class-action sexual harassment lawsuit against the Mounties.

282 current or former Mounties across Canada allege sexual harssment, discrimination

A lawyer representing women who are suing the RCMP says New Brunswick is not immune to systemic harassment and gender-based discrimination in the force.

Four women who are or were officers with the Fredericton-based J Division have joined a class-action lawsuit of nearly 300 people, said Sandy Zaitzeff.

He said he doesn't have permission from the New Brunswick women to discuss their personal cases.

But he said bullying, sexual innuendo, and in some cases assaults have occurred.

"We have women, actually, I can think of cases directly in the Maritimes, where women have moved from detachment to detachment," said Zaitzeff.

"And phone calls are made and the second place they go to becomes worse than the first place. The third place that they're sent becomes worse than the second."

Documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week in support of class-action certification say the lawsuit now includes 282 women from all territories and provinces across Canada, with the exception of P.E.I.

The lawyers arguing the case say 100 of the complainants are still with the force, either as officers, civilian members, or public service employees.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

The RCMP has declined an offer to mediate, according to Vancouver class action lawyer David Klein.

The civil suit was filed last year by Janet Merlo, a former RCMP officer who was based in Nanaimo. Merlo, who alleges she suffered bullying and verbal abuse throughout a career that began in March 1991 and ended in March 2010.