Thunder Bay

Ontario court awards $114K to former Tbaytel employee in constructive dismissal case

The Ontario Superior Court found that Tbaytel, based in Thunder Bay, made Linda Colistro's employment "intolerable" when it hired an executive, who was found to have harassed her more then a decade earlier at the city telephone department.

Company, based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, made Linda Colistro's employment 'intolerable,' judge finds

Mr. Justice John Fregeau found Tbaytel liable for so-called Honda damages, which are levied against employers who act unfairly or in bad faith in the course of terminating an employee. Such conduct includes that which is "untruthful, misleading or unduly insensitive," according to his ruling.

An Ontario Superior Court judge has awarded more than $114,000 in damages to a former Tbaytel employee who complained of constructive dismissal after the company knowingly hired an executive who was previously found to have sexually harassed her.

Mr. Justice John Fregeau wrote that he was satisfied that Linda Colistro had been sexually harassed by the individual when both were employed by the city telephone department, based in Thunder Bay, Ont.,  more than a decade earlier and that the individual's behaviour contributed to his termination without cause at that time. 

The court found Tbaytel's decision to proceed with the hiring to be "flagrant and outrageous conduct."

Fregeau said it "minimized and invalidated the sexual harassment complaints of Ms. Colistro, a 20-year valued and respected current employee of the company."

He further found that the company's treatment of Colistro "made her continued employment with Tbaytel intolerable such that she was constructively dismissed on February 6, 2007."

The court awarded Colistro $14,082 for wrongful dismissal and an additional $100,000 in so-called Honda damages, which are damages levied against employers who act unfairly or in bad faith in the course of a termination.

Fregeau found that Tbaytel's hiring of Colistro's former harasser resulted in her suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that "the quality of her life has been significantly impaired."