Officer accuses Windsor police of gender bias, files human rights case
Tribunal expected to run until 4 p.m.
A female Windsor police officer is accusing the force of passing over her for several promotions because of gender.
Staff Sgt. Christine Bissonnette named the Windsor Police Services Board, Chief Al Frederick, along with current and former senior officers Rick Derus, Vince Power and Rick Facciolo in her 39-page human rights complaint.
A human rights tribunal is taking place today involving the <a href="https://twitter.com/WindsorPolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WindsorPolice</a>.<br><br>Staff Sgt. Christine Bissonnette alleges the Windsor Police Services Board and "several senior officers in the Windsor Police Service" of discrimination based on gender, according to the application. <a href="https://t.co/QoQkGBbr4Q">pic.twitter.com/QoQkGBbr4Q</a>—@ChrisEnsingCBC
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hearing began at City Hall Friday at 10 a.m. is expected to run until 4 p.m.
Bissonnette alleges promotions were based more on popularity than performance, that she wasn't given the same training opportunities as male colleagues and that she had interactions with male officers that were "nothing short of harassment."
Follow CBC Windsor's Chris Ensing for updates from the hearing:
Police Chief Al Frederick is here at the tribunal taking place in Windsor. <br><br>Bissonnette says she wasn't promoted multiple times due to discrimination on the basis of gender, according to the application.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Bissonnette wants to enter evidence of her making her then supervisor aware of her complaints in 2010. <br><br>"You have to understand the culture of this orginaztion," says Bissonnette. <br><br>"If someone doesnt speak up it doesn't mean you condone the behaviour."—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Lawyer for the Windsor Police Services Board objects to the evidence - but the hearing officer accepts the evidence. <br><br>"The relevant point is that the applicant has raised these complaints in the past," says Bruce Best.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Bissonnette is summarizing the document from 2010 now that describes how she brought forward previous issues.<br><br>Says at that time the promotion "process allows for popularity more than performance."<br><br>She says at the time she was not receiving training courses make colleagues were.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
**This should read "male" colleagues**—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Lawyer for Windsor Police Services Board continues to object details in this document being entered. <br><br>Hearing officer continues to allow for the document to be summarized, says it's relevant for context but won't be part of his determinations.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
In 2011 Bissonnette was involved in another promotion process. <br><br>These promotions work a year behind. So you try for a promotion in 2011 for 2012, explains Bissonnette.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Hearing officer will not allow evidence to be presented about Bissonnette's involvement in promotional process before it recently changed - as the current promotional and competition process is what these allegations before the tribunal concern.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
Bissonnette says now Windsor Police Chief (then acting) Al Frederick and the Deputy Chief offered her the Executive Officer to the Chief position in 2012. <br><br>She was also promoted to Staff Sargent in 2012. <br><br>Applied to write Inspector exam, was denied - then allowed.—@ChrisEnsingCBC
In a statement, Windsor Police Service says it takes these allegations very seriously and respects the rights of the complainant and the hearing process.
"The Windsor Police Service denies these allegations and intends to vigorously defend the integrity and impartiality of the promotional process and those responsible for administering the process," reads the statement.
The statement says the police service stands by those who have achieved a promotion, including the complainant.
"The Windsor Police Service strives to provide a promotional system that ensures fairness and equal opportunity to all candidates."