Report finds hundreds of Manitoba civil servants have experienced harassment

Report finds hundreds of Manitoba civil servants have experienced harassment

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said government culture has to change after a study showed hundreds of civil servants experienced sexual harassment while working but most did not report it.

“We really take seriously the need to change the culture because people should not be afraid to report instances of harassment, they should not fear reprisal,” Pallister said on Thursday.

The report focused on what was heard during consultations with more than 3,000 employees about a culture of sexual harassment in government. More than 500 said they had experienced harassment.

The most frequent types of harassment were things like leering or invading space, but many others reported inappropriate physical contact such as touching, patting or pinching.

Ten per cent said they were currently experiencing sexual harassment.

Most employees said they didn’t report it because they were afraid of reprisal or hurting their career.

For those who did report the harassment, 24 per cent of employees said nothing was done. Only 13 per cent said they were satisfied with the resolution.

A second report, by an external consultant, included 25 recommendations to improve policies and practices.

The reports were commissioned in February following allegations by several women that former NDP cabinet minister Stan Struthers tickled and groped female staff or made sexual remarks.

Two women said they complained about the behaviour but were later informed they would have to “suck it up.”

In June, the province released statistics for the first time on the number of complaints related to harassment, bullying and misconduct among the civil service in the last fiscal year. There were 20 allegations of sexual harassment and hundreds of accusations of other misconduct.