Nova Scotia

N.S. Human Rights Commission to hear firefighter's discrimination case

Kathy Symington says she was relieved when she got the message Wednesday morning the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission would hear her discrimination case.

Kathy Symington says her 18 years with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency was plagued with sexual harassment

Kathy Symington began her 18-year firefighting career in 1997. (Submitted by Kathy Symington)

Kathy Symington says she was relieved when she got the message Wednesday morning the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission would hear her discrimination case, which includes 1,400 pages she wrote documenting her experiences.

"All these years nobody wanted to read any of that, ever," she said. "But now, today, they're going to have a chance to read that because that's what they've agreed to do."

Symington said her 18-year career as a firefighter was plagued by sexual harassment, with rude and derogatory comments, along with inappropriate sexual questions. During that time, she said her car was vandalized three times and she suspects it was one of her co-workers.

Symington said she's not sure when her case will be heard, but expects to find out later this week.

"I'm happy, I'm relieved, somewhat vindicated I guess that it's going in the right direction anyway and my complaint is going to be looked at as a whole instead of a little piece," she said.

According to news release from Equity Watch, a human rights advocacy organization based in Nova Scotia, the commission decided to hear Symington's case because it relates to gender, disability and retaliation.

Symington was a firefighter beginning in 1997. She said the harassment started in 2000.

She had gone to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission before, but says her complaint was minimized and thrown out.

"I'll never know what pushed them to the right side, I really won't, because all along they didn't want to look at any of it," she said.

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About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.

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