Alice Fox, RCMP officer in 'It Gets Better' video, sues force for harassment
Mountie claims superior officer 'destroyed' her RCMP career through bullying and harassment
Const. Alice Fox, one of 20 Mounties who told their stories in a video for the "It Gets Better" campaign, is suing a superior officer for alleged harassment and bullying.
In a B.C. Supreme Court notice of civil claim, Fox alleges Staff Sgt. Marc Alexander subjected her to years of humiliating comments and behaviour. She is also suing Canada's attorney general and B.C.'s minister of justice.
"[Fox] has suffered permanent and irreparable harm including extreme embarrassment, loss of reputation, extreme stress resulting in disabling psychological injury, personal expense and financial loss," the claim says.
"As a result of the negligent conduct of the defendants, the plaintiff's career with the RCMP has been destroyed," it's claimed.
'It Gets Better'
Fox went public about her sexuality in 2012 in a 10-minute video produced by the RCMP's youth unit and posted on YouTube.
The Mounties told their stories about overcoming bullying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Canadians.
In the video, Fox described difficulties she experienced attending a Christian school as a gay youth.
"Never give up," she said. "It does get better."
In her lawsuit, Fox claims it wasn't her sexuality but her learning disabilities that drew harassment.
When she graduated from the RCMP's academy in 2004, she says, she disclosed learning difficulties, which manifest themselves in poor handwriting and spelling.
She says she advised Alexander of her disabilities in 2005; he allegedly said he thought she had attention deficit disorder, could not do the job and "should be locked in a room."
"These comments were humiliating, embarrassing and hurt the plaintiff greatly," the claim says.
New job, old problems
In 2007, Fox was posted to the integrated road safety unit, where she claims she was recognized as a top performing member and one of the top impaired driving investigators in B.C.
But she claims things changed after Alexander was posted to the unit as her commanding officer.
"Alexander developed a pattern of persistent harassment of the plaintiff using his position of authority," she claims.
Fox claims she was repeatedly berated in front of colleagues for her paperwork, handwriting and exhibit handling. She was allegedly ordered to attend work on her days off and allegedly told her overtime would be cut off as a result of file backlog.
In 2013, Fox was invited to attend a symposium as she was being considered for an instructor's position. But she claims Alexander said, "You can't teach, your mind is all over the place, what makes you think you can teach."
RCMP were 'well aware'
Fox claims she asked for a transfer, after which Alexander "loudly proclaimed that he was going to take various disciplinary actions against" her.
She was placed on sick leave at the end of January 2013 after filing a harassment claim against Alexander. But Fox claims he continued to harass and attempt to discredit her by seeking grounds to discipline her and encouraging public complaints against her.
Alexander was transferred from the unit in July 2013, but Fox claims Alexander directed another member to interfere with her files and encourage public complaints.
Fox claims the RCMP should have acted to protect her against harassment.
"Trust in your fellow officers is a critical component for the safe and effective performance of their duties," the claim reads.
"The RCMP and/or those in authority over … Alexander were well aware of his reputation as a bully/harasser prior to the complaint filed by the plaintiff. They had been well aware of the toxic work environment created … by Alexander resulting in other previous complaints against him and the high turnover/transfer of staff."
None of the claims have been proven in court.