A Call for Class Action
As most know already, there is an ongoing Class Action Lawsuit against the RCMP at this time by female members who allege harassment. The initial intent of that lawsuit was to include all members, men and women, past and present who alleged things like neglect, harassment, abuse of power, etc. However, the law firms who are handling that suit felt that they would just deal with female members this time around and they ‘might’ do another suit in future for the men after this one is concluded. Furthermore, we still do not know what allegations that lawsuit will entail, whether it’s harassment in general or sexual harassment only.
I believe that it is the members who make up the RCMP, not the other way around, yet management has seemed to have lost sight of this. I also believe, that being said, that members are the RCMP’s most valuable resource, not it’s police cars, not the equipment, not the detachments, but the men and women who ‘walk the beat’ every single day and night to serve and protect. Why then are we treated as a liability instead of an investment by our employer? Managers don’t seem to have a problem looking after the cars and equipment on a regular basis. Cars get serviced, tires get rotated, radars get calibrated, routine inventory checks done on pc’s every week to ensure they have what they need to do the job. But who is doing our inventory? Have you ever heard a supervisor use the term ‘risk it out’? That’s when a shift is short of the agreed upon compliment of members and instead of calling out an extra member on overtime the supervisor says, “Nah, it’s Sunday…nothing’s going to happen today so I’m going to risk it out”. What does that say about our value to the RCMP when YOU are the one who is being ‘risked out’?
Policy (Admin Manual II-19-5) “Reporting Psychologically Traumatic Incidences” states that after certain traumatic events (there are 13 listed) this must occur;
1) Every incident must be reported to the member’s commander,
2) a psychological debriefing is mandatory, and
3) it is highly recommended that the member seek psychological assistance. How many of us can say we did not ever receive this care? There is Supreme Court law that states ‘employers are responsible to care for it’s employees’.
We owe it to ourselves to stand up to our abuser. I am also interested in members who did not receive proper care or were not accommodated for PTSD. Under the Canadian Human Rights Commission an employer “ought to have known” an employee had PTSD if the symptoms were there and the employer saw the signs but neglected to do anything about it. You do not have to be diagnosed with PTSD for this (to be accommodated). If the signs were there and your employer saw them but ignored them then your employer has not accommodated you and so was negligent. Signs could include for example a member who’s performance was failing, a member who was drinking in excess, if you filed a 1343 for something like feeling stressed (because of headaches) yet your employer failed to acknowledge it…things like this. These are just examples, but again, if the signs were there but neglected.
We have an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove neglect, harassment, etc. Although a Class Action Lawsuit only requires two plaintiffs it would be much more beneficial to have many. Once a suit gets announced many more will join. In my opinion this is the ONLY way to put this issue where it belongs. There is no financial cost to you to belong to a class action lawsuit because the law firms would do it on a contingency basis.